KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The man suspected of shooting eight people in the Kalamazoo area, killing six, was an Uber driver who was apparently taking fares in between opening fire at various locations, police tell 24 Hour News 8.
Authorities are investigating reports that Jason Dalton dropped off a group of people at a Fairfield Inn Marriott in Texas Township, then went next door to the Cracker Barrel and allegedly opened fired on two vehicles, killing four people.
A woman at the hotel said she heard about 10 shots, then ran outside and saw the suspect driving away from the Cracker Barrel at a normal rate of speed.
The Cracker Barrel shooting was the last of three connected incidents over the course of about five hours Saturday. Detectives believe Dalton shot a total of eight people, killing six of them. A 14-year-old girl was in grave condition Sunday morning and a woman shot several times was severely injured but expected to survive.
People at the Fairfield Inn said the passengers dropped off there were interviewed by police.
One man told 24 Hour News 8 that he and his family ordered and Uber and rode with Dalton after the Cracker Barrel shooting and not long before Dalton’s arrest. They said nothing seemed amiss at the time. He said he has talked with police.
Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting confirmed that authorities are looking to a Facebook post by some apparent Uber passengers who were in Dalton’s vehicle when he was allegedly involved in a sideswipe hit-and-run crash, ran at least one stop sign, and was driving erratically just before the shootings.
Sunday, Uber told 24 Hour News 8 that Dalton had passed a background check to be a driver-partner. It said it is aiding police with their investigation.
The company provided this statement from its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan:
“We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries. We are reaching out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can.”
After combing state records, 24 Hour News 8 found Dalton, 45, does not have a criminal history in Michigan or Indiana.
“He has no criminal history that we know of,” Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday morning. “Which, again, leads to back to why someone with no criminal history, no indicators of why he would commit these types of acts. It is extremely frustrating in terms of not having at least a reason why.”
Prosecutor Getting said Dalton was even-tempered and cooperative when police arrested him around 12:40 a.m. Sunday during a traffic stop in Kalamazoo. Officers found a semi-automatic handgun inside his vehicle.
Getting said authorities were not aware of Dalton having any history of mental illness. They said he was not believed to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As of Sunday morning, little more was known about Dalton, who police say chose his victims at random. Chief Hadley said that so far, there’s no clear motive for the shootings. Getting said the victims did not know the suspect.
Investigators were at his home on Douglas Avenue, northwest of Kalamazoo, searching for evidence. Hadley told 24 Hour News 8 that police were looking for Dalton’s hard drive and more weapons at the home.
Getting said Dalton was in contact with someone at times during the spree, but would not disclose who. He said Dalton is likely the only person who will face charges.
Dalton is expected in court Monday, at which point he will be formally charged with multiple counts of murder.