6 dead in Kalamazoo shooting rampage; suspect in custody
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Police have arrested Jason Brian Dalton in connection with three shooting incidents that killed six people and injured two more in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, prosecutor Jeff Getting said Sunday.
“This is just the most awful thing I can think of,” Getting said at a press conference held to announce the arrest of Dalton, 45, and to reassure the community that there is no longer a threat.
“There was only one shooter,” he said. “And that person is in custody.”
Rampage lasted more than 6 hours
According to police, the first shooting took place around 6 p.m., when a woman was shot four times in an apartment complex parking lot. Getting said the woman — who was with her three children — is in serious condition, but expected to survive.
Then, four hours later, two men — an 18-year-old and an older male — were shot and killed at a Kia dealership. Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said the pair were there looking at a vehicle. Getting, who would not identify any of the victims, would not confirm reports that it was a father and son.
Ten minutes after that, at around 10:10, police say Dalton fired on two vehicles in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, killing four adult women and “gravely” injuring a 14-year-old girl. Getting said authorities initially thought the teen was dead. “Call it a miracle,” he said. “But she’s alive now.”
The prosecutor said the Cracker Barrel victims were together in a single group.
After another two hours or so, at approximately 12:30 a.m., police took Dalton into custody, ending a six-hour nightmare that brought Kalamazoo to its knees.
Police seized a semiautomatic handgun from Dalton, whom Getting described as “even-tempered” at the time of his arrest.
“There is just no question more people would have died if (police) didn’t find him when they did,” Getting said.
No motive known
The cruel randomness of the rampage seemed to rattle officials in the western Michigan city.
“This is your worst nightmare,” Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas told CNN affiliate WOOD-TV. “When you have somebody just driving around randomly killing people.”
Getting appeared to struggle at times for the right words, if there were any, at Sunday’s press conference.
“There is this sense of loss, anger, (and) fear,” he said. ” On top of that, how do you tell the families of these victims that they were not targeted for any other reason than they were a target?”
Getting said police don’t yet know a motive, but authorities are confident that Dalton acted alone, and that there is no connection to terrorism. Formal charges will be brought Monday, he said.
“I would expect six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, six counts of felony firearm, and then we’ll see from there.”
‘Typical American family’
Neighbor Sally Pardo told CNN that Dalton is married with two children, and that they seemed to be a “typical American family,”
“This seems so out of sorts for him,” added Gary Pardo, her husband.
The Pardos, who have lived across the street from Dalton’s single-family home for 10 years, said that Dalton was quiet and liked to work on cars.
“I know he liked guns,” Gary Pardo said.
Getting said he didn’t know if Dalton had a license for the handgun that was seized at the time of his arrest.
A Kalamazoo Police crime lab van was parked outside Dalton’s home Sunday morning. A CNN crew saw at least 10 boxes being removed from the house and loaded into the van