By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker
The Kalamazoo shooting rampage that killed six people and critically injured two others began at 6 p.m. Saturday at a townhouse in Richland Township.
Police said 45-year-old Jason Dalton shot a woman several times with a semi-automatic handgun outside of the townhouse, critically injuring her in front of her children. It’s not known whether Dalton knew the victim.
Shortly after 10 p.m., Dalton shot and killed an 18-year-old man and his father outside of a Kia dealership in Kalamazoo. About 15 minutes later, Dalton opened fire on a van and car at a Cracker Barrel in Kalamazoo, killing four women and “gravely” injuring a 14-year-old girl.
At 12:40 a.m., a deputy spotted the suspect leaving the parking lot of a bar and arrested Dalton without incident.
“There was no struggle,” Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said at a news conference Sunday morning. “Mr. Dalton didn’t fight with the police or present a challenge with a weapon.
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Getting said the arrest likely saved additional lives.
“There is no question that more people would have died if they hadn’t found him when they did,” Getting said.
After the arrest, Dalton “seemed very even-tempered,” the prosecutor said.
Authorities said Dalton, who acted alone, made several calls from his cell phone after the initial shooting, but police did not divulge details.
What remains unclear is what motivated the rampage. Police said the shooting appeared to be “random” and that Dalton does not have a criminal record.
“This is a very, very tragic situation,” Getting said. “There’s this sense of loss, this anger; there’s fear and all these emotions. On top of that, how do you tell the families of these victims that they” were random “targets?”
Police initially reported seven people were dead because they thought a 14-year-old girl was killed at the Cracker Barrel parking lot.
“They thought she was deceased; she wasn’t,” Getting said. “Call it a miracle, call it what you want, but she is alive now.”
Getting added: “I’m going to cross my fingers, say a prayer and hope like hell she” survives.
Before Dalton’s arrest, police warned of a shooter opening fire at random.
“We have somebody just driving around, finding people and shooting them dead in their tracks,” Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matya said.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.