Crime & Justice

At least 6 killed in series of shootings in Kalamazoo; suspect arrested

A mugshot and rap sheet of Jason Dalton, who police say went on a shooting rampage that lasted for hours in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Saturday.
A mugshot and rap sheet of Jason Dalton, who police say went on a shooting rampage that lasted for hours in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Saturday.
/Kalamazoo Public Safety

At least six people are dead after multiple shootings in three different locations in the Kalamazoo, Mich., area on Saturday night. Police have arrested a 45-year-old man for the crime. Three additional people were shot, two of whom are listed in critical condition.

At a news conference Sunday morning, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting said officials believe the attacks were random, with bullets striking people who happened to be in the wrong place when the rampage started.

When asked whether he viewed the violence as an act of terrorism, Getting said no.

The victims range from four women who were shot in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant to a father and son who were at a car dealership, according to local news TV WWMT.

A 14-year-old girl who was also shot at the restaurant is in critical condition; it seems that police had initially listed her as a fatality, causing a discrepancy in reports about the attack.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says Michigan police arrested Jason Dalton, 45, and they believe he alone is responsible for the killings. Earlier, based on descriptions drawn from surveillance video and eyewitness statements, police said they were looking for a white man in his 50s, driving a blue Chevrolet HHR.

On Sunday, reports emerged that Dalton may have been a driver for Uber — and the the ride-hailing service has now confirmed to NPR's Hansi Lo Wang that that is indeed the case.

From Uber's chief security officer, Joe Sullivan:

"We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can."

Reports about Dalton driving for Uber included at least one indication that he might have been driving clients on Saturday. A smartphone screengrab posted to Facebook appears to show his face and first name in Uber's app. That trip was canceled.

"Several people have said that Dalton was their driver for Uber," WWMT reports. "We have also found that someone may have had an experience with him during an Uber ride yesterday."

Last night, a woman used Facebook to urge others not to ride with the man, saying her fiancee had gotten out of the car after the driver had sped through stop signs and driven into oncoming traffic, reports the Kalamazoo Gazette.

The Michigan State Police has identified victims of Saturday's attack at the Cracker Barrel, saying that occupants of a Chevrolet Cruze and an Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan had been fired upon.

Here are the names of four of the people who died, from the state police:

The state police also say that the 14-year-old who is injured had been the front-seat passenger of the Chevrolet and is currently in critical condition at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Public Safety says of the suspect: "His demeanor was even-tempered upon arrest according to the prosecutor. He was cooperative. Acts committed were intentional. Semi-auto handgun was found in suspect vehicle."

WMUK's Gordon Evans tells our Newscast unit that Dalton was taken into custody more than six hours after the first shooting:

The shootings began at an apartment complex where one woman was injured.

Two men were then killed outside a car dealership and four people were shot to death in the parking lot of a restaurant.

A Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department official told the Kalamazoo Gazette that it appeared the gunman was driving around and shooting people randomly.

Correction: A caption attached to the image for an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the first name of the suspect. As is clear in the post, his name is Jason — not James — Dalton. 
 
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