Family: I-96 murder-suicide suspect had brain tumor

Lisa and David Somers (Photo courtesy: Shelbi Somers)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The daughter of the man who police say shot two women in his SUV before turning the gun on himself says her father had surgery on a brain tumor one day before the deadly incident along I-96.

David and Lisa Somers, both 50, were found shot dead near their SUV Saturday night after police responded to a motorist assist call along I-96 near the Nash Highway exit in Ionia County. Lisa Somers’ daughter, Amedy Dewey, 18, was also shot but survived. As of Monday, she was in critical but stable condition.

Ionia County sheriff’s investigators said they believe David Somers shot the women. A shotgun was found near his body on the scene, officials said.

The news stunned the family members of those involved, including David Somers’ only child — his daughter, Shelbi Somers, 23.

“He was a good man. Everybody liked him,” Shelbi Somers told 24 Hour News 8 in a tearful interview Monday. “My dad is just a really good guy.”

David Somers and his daughter, Shelbi Somers (Photo courtesy: Shelbi Somers)

Shelbi Somers said her father had been dealing with a brain tumor diagnosis for about a year and had an operation Friday morning, the day the before the shooting. She said her father told her that doctors were able to remove “most of” the tumor in a surgery through his nasal cavity.

The tumor, she said, was not cancerous and according to her father, and the prognosis was good.

“He never made it seem like it was something to worry about,” Shelbi Somers said, adding that she saw no notable change in his behavior following the diagnosis and treatment.

Shelbi Somers said her stepmother knew about the tumor, but that her father did not tell his wife about the surgery.

The day of the shootings, she said, she heard from her dad like she always does.

“He texted me every day and just says that he loves me and misses me and that’s an everyday thing,” she said. “So, I got that text in the morning just like a normal day.”

On Saturday evening, family members said David Somers was going to pick up his wife and her daughter from the airport and return to their home in Kaleva, a village in northern Michigan’s Manistee County.

The mother and daughter had gone on a cruise together to celebrate Amedy Dewey’s birthday. She turned 18 on Jan. 5. Dewey wrote about her trip 12 hours before the shootings on her Facebook page.

“Thank you everyone for the amazing birthday wishes!! As some of you know I was out of the country therefor (sic) I couldn’t respond but I’m happy to say I spent my 18th birthday in the Bahamas,” the public posting, which went up about 12 hours before the shootings, reads.

David Somers didn’t go on the trip because he was going though treatment for the tumor, his daughter said.

The shootings happened along the highway before the Somerses and Dewey made it home. Sheriff’s investigators said the vehicle was in the eastbound lanes and authorities believe the family was headed from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids to Midland. Dewey’s Facebook page says she lives in Midland.

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Office reports that officers found David and Lisa Somers outside of the SUV, which was parked along the freeway with its liftgate open. Dewey was inside the vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound.

Ionia County I-96 Murder-Suicide
Deputies investigate a murder-suicide on I-96 in Boston Township. (Ionia County Sheriff’s Office)

Police photos from the scene show the victims’ luggage packed in the trunk area of the Chevy Equinox they’d been riding in.

“I don’t understand,” Shelbi Somers said Monday. “I don’t think anyone understands.”

Shelbi Somers said her father and stepmother enjoyed softball and were avid Detroit Tigers fans.

“You can look at their Facebooks and it looks like they live a normal, happy life. Everything is good,” she said. “They were active people. They have tons of friends.”

David and Lisa Somers married in 2013. 24 Hour News 8 could not find a criminal history or other public record of problems for Lisa Somers in Manistee County. David Somers has a 2017 misdemeanor conviction in Manistee County for providing alcohol to a minor.

Shelbi Somers says she was close with her stepmother, too.

“She was very outgoing,” she said. “Loved to have fun.”

Shelbi Somers says she is not sure whether her father’s health had anything to do with what happened Saturday night, but she wants people to know that her dad was a good man.

“I’ve seen people comment on it and I can already see that people think awful things,” she said. “They don’t know the full story.”

Precise answers as to why the shootings happened may never come. As of Monday, investigators said they had no indication on a motive.

“I’m not looking for answers,” Shelbi Somers said. “I guess I’m just looking for peace and closure on it.”

It’s a tragedy that she says confirms a universal truth.

“You just never really know what’s happening inside someone’s family — inside someone’s head,” she said.

**CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated David Somers did not have a criminal record in Manistee County. That was based on Michigan State Police records, which did not include the district court records that detail Somers’ misdemeanor conviction. The article has been updated to include the misdemeanor conviction.

Additionally, a previous version of this article listed David Somers and Lisa Somers as both being 51 years old, based on incorrect information from authorities. This has since been corrected.