by Miyah Power ('16)
Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver, has been identified by police as the shooter. At around 5:42 p.m. on February 20, Dalton shot a woman four times in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Four-and-a-half hours later two more victims were shot and killed at a Kia dealership. Soon after, the shooter fired at four people outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Oddly enough, Dalton collected Uber fares in between shooting incidents, which brings into question Dalton’s state of mind during the nearly five-hour shooting spree. One man says that he was a passenger of Dalton just before the first shooting. According to the man, who has remained anonymous, during his trip Dalton received a phone call and thereafter began driving erratically and running through stop signs. “He was surprisingly calm, I was freaking out,” said the man.
Police have reported that Dalton does not have any history of mental illness. However, those close to Dalton observed that he had appeared depressed on the days leading up to the fatal shooting spree. Also, a previous employer noted that Dalton’s behavior was often inconsistent - one second he would blow up and the next he would apologize for doing so.
"These were very deliberate killings," prosecutor Jeffrey Getting said. "This wasn't hurried in any way, shape or form." Though the shootings may have been indeed intentional, the sporadic timing and range of victims suggest that the victims were randomly selected. No motive has been discovered. "How do you tell the families of these victims that they were not targeted for any other reason than they were a target?" said Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley.
Dalton, now awaiting sentencing, is being brought up on six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight counts of using a firearm to commit a felony.