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Police: 6 dead in 'random' Michigan shootings; suspect held

USA TODAY USA TODAY 21/02/2016 Thomas Frank and William Cummings

Police in Kalamazoo, Mich., apprehended a gunman Sunday they believe shot and killed six people and seriously wounded two others during a series of apparently random attacks that spanned four hours.

A total of eight people were shot in three locations Saturday as the gunman drove around shooting victims, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting said.

The suspect was an Uber driver who transported passengers between the shootings, WOOD-TV reported.

Jason Dalton, 45, was arrested early Sunday, Getting said. Dalton has no prior criminal record and was taken into custody without a struggle.

"He was cooperative. ... He seemed pretty even-tempered," Getting said. "How do you go and tell the families of these victims they weren't targeted for any other reason than they were there to be a target?" 

© Provided by USA Today Police believe Dalton began the attacks at an apartment complex outside Kalamazoo at about 6 p.m. Saturday, shooting a woman four times in the parking lot. The woman was in serious condition, police said.

A father and son were then shot at 10 p.m., while sitting in their cars at a Kalamazoo car dealership 8 miles from the apartment complex. About 15 minutes later, four people were shot and killed in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant 4 miles from the car dealership, police said. A 14-year-old girl was seriously wounded there. 

Police initially said the teen had been killed, putting the death toll at seven. Getting said Sunday morning that the the girl was "severely, gravely" injured, but still alive.

"Call it a miracle," Getting added. "I'm gonna cross my fingers, say a prayer and hope like hell (she survives)."

Each victim was shot multiple times, he said. 

"What it looks like is we have someone just driving around, finding people and shooting them dead in their tracks," Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas told CNN. "This is your worst nightmare, when you have somebody just driving around randomly killing people."

Dalton was arrested at about 12:40 a.m. Sunday in downtown Kalamazoo. He surrendered without incident, but had weapons in his vehicle, Michigan State Police Lt. Dale Hinz told WZZM-TV.  Authorities do not believe anyone else is involved. The investigation into Dalton's motive is ongoing.

"The threat to the public is over," Matyas said.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued condolences via Twitter, saying, "The families of Kalamazoo victims are in our thoughts today." Snyder thanked law enforcement "for a quick arrest."

Dalton likely will face multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder when he appears before a judge Wednesday in a Kalamazoo County courtroom, Getting said.

Little is known about Dalton, who lives on a quiet rural road in Kalamazoo Township, just outside the city.

Kalamazoo, with a population of about 75,000, is about 150 miles west of Detroit. It is home to Western Michigan University. The city also is known for the anonymously funded Kalamazoo Promise program, which has paid college tuition of students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools for more than a decade.

Contributing: Andrew Krietz, WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich.; The Associated Press


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