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Kalamazoo mass shootings: what we know

7 years 1 month 4 days ago Sunday, February 21 2016 Feb 21, 2016 February 21, 2016 2:38 PM February 21, 2016 in News
Source: Associated Press
By: APnewsNow

KALAMAZOO - At least six people are dead after a series of western Michigan shootings in which authorities say they believe a gunman chose victims at random.

Police say the rampage began about 6 p.m. Saturday outside an apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County, where a woman was shot multiple times and seriously wounded. A little more than four hours later and 15 miles away, a father and son were fatally shot while looking at vehicles at a car dealership.

Fifteen minutes after that, five people - including a 14-year-old girl, who was wounded- were gunned down in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas described the killings as "random murders."

Authorities have released the names of four people killed inside two vehicles parked near the Cracker Barrel restaurant.

State Police say the victims were 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye and 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye, 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne and 74-year-old Dorothy Brown.

A 14-year-old girl also shot in the restaurant lot remains in critical condition.

State police say four of the victims were inside a Chevrolet Cruze and the fifth victim - Mary Lou Nye - was alone in an Oldsmobile minivan nearby.

The 60-year-old retired teacher Mary Jo Nye is being remembered as a teacher who could help even the most reluctant students become better writers.

Tara Egnatuk, assistant director of the Calhoun Community High School, said she worked for six years with Nye at the alternative school that serves many at-risk students.

Egnatuk says that Nye helped write the charter to create the school. Egnatuk spent hours in Nye's classroom and was mentored by her during the time they worked together.

She says Nye was able to get students to become better writers by taking "baby steps" to get them to open up. She adds that Nye "played a really integral part in a lot of kids' lives."

The next-door neighbor of a woman shot first in the rampage says she and her family heard the shooting, ran outside and her neighbor "was on the ground."

Tammy George tells The Associated Press that four bullets went into a closet of her apartment, where her son was playing video games with two friends a few feet away. George says her neighbor was lucky to be alive considering the number of shell casings authorities found.

The woman has not been identified. Police say she was shot multiple times and was seriously wounded.

George says she made sure the woman's children were OK and told them that their mother was talking and asking about them.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says "the victims and their families - and the entire Kalamazoo area - should be in everyone's thoughts."

Snyder in his statement Sunday also lauded police, saying "their actions resulted in the suspect being caught before he was able to harm anyone else through these senseless and apparently random acts of violence."

Authorities say a 45-year-old Jason Dalton was arrested early Sunday in Kalamazoo. Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says Dalton has no known criminal history.

Prosecutor Jeff Getting says Dalton likely will face multiple first-degree murder and attempted murder counts.

Hadley says investigators contacted Dalton’s wife Saturday evening "to make sure she wasn't a victim." Hadley adds that she has cooperated with police in their investigation.

A man who knows the Dalton says he never showed any signs of violence.

Gary Pardo Jr. tells The Associated Press that Dalton is "a family man that for all intents and purposes seemed to stick with his family." Pardo says Dalton is married and has two children.

Uber says Dalton was one of its drivers.

Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian would not say whether Dalton was driving for the ride-sharing service on Saturday when the shootings occurred.

Uber's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan says the company is "horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence" and that Uber has contacted police to offer assistance in the investigation.

Uber also released its firearms policy that prohibits both drivers and passengers from carrying firearms in an Uber vehicle.

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