What happened in Kalamazoo this weekend

- Authorities are trying to piece together an hours-long weekend rampage that left six people dead in western Michigan this weekend.

Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver and former insurance adjuster who police said had no criminal record, has been arrested and charged in connection with the shootings after a massive manhunt. 

Authorities did not provide a motive for what they said was his targeting of victims with no apparent connection to him or to each other in the Saturday night shootings.

WHAT HAPPENED

The attacks began about 6 p.m. Saturday outside the Meadows apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County, where a woman was shot multiple times. She was expected to survive.

A little more than four hours later and 15 miles away, a father and his 17-year-old son were fatally shot while looking at cars at a car dealership.

Fifteen minutes after that, five people were gunned down in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, Matyas said. Four of them died.

"These are random murders," Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas said.

Dalton was arrested without incident about 12:40 a.m. Sunday after a deputy spotted his vehicle driving through downtown Kalamazoo after leaving a bar parking lot, authorities said.

THE VICTIMS

The four people killed outside the restaurant were identified as 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye of Baroda and 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye, 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne and 74-year-old Dorothy Brown, all of Battle Creek.

The two victims killed at the car dealership were identified as Tyler Smith and his father, Richard, who was 53.

A 14-year-old girl wounded at the restaurant was hospitalized in critical condition.

Late Sunday night, mourners streamed into a Kalamazoo church for a prayer service intended to honor the victims and help residents cope.

With a population of about 75,000, Kalamazoo is about 160 miles west of Detroit. It is home to Western Michigan University and the headquarters of popular craft beer maker Bell's Brewery. The city also is known for the anonymously funded Kalamazoo Promise program, which has paid college tuition of students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools for more than a decade.

THE UBER CONNECTION

As authorities look for the reasons why Dalton allegedly embarked on a mass shooting spree over the weekend, the ride-hailing service Uber is addressing his record as a driver with the company.

Dalton is a former insurance adjuster who had been working as a driver for Uber's ride-hailing service. Authorities were investigating unconfirmed reports he may have picked up passengers in the hours before and after the rampage on Saturday.

Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian confirmed Dalton had driven for Uber. Hourdajian wouldn't say whether he was picking up fares for the ride-sharing service Saturday night.

Authorities, however, were investigating a Facebook post which indicated the suspect was driving erratically around the time of the shootings and may have picked up at least one Uber fare while authorities were looking for him, according to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting.

While Uber says it screens drivers and conducts background checks, critics say the ride-hailing company uses private screening services that don't have access to as much information as local police can obtain when they check fingerprint records.

If Dalton had no criminal record, it's not clear that Uber would have had any reason to keep him from driving. Uber, meanwhile, instituted a policy last year that prohibits driver and passengers from possessing firearms. Anyone found to be in violation of the policy may be prohibited from using or driving for the service.

THE SUSPECT

As stated, Dalton, 45, is a former insurance adjuster who was working as an Uber driver. A man who knows Dalton said he was a married father of two who never showed any signs of violence.

Gary Pardo Jr., whose parents live across the street from Dalton in Kalamazoo Township, described him as a family man who seemed fixated on cars and often worked on them.

"He would go a month without mowing his lawn but was very meticulous with his cars," Pardo said, explaining that Dalton, at times, owned a Chevrolet Camaro and two Hummer SUVs.

Progressive Insurance confirmed that he once worked for the company before leaving in 2011.

Dalton was an insurance adjuster who did auto-body estimates and once taught an auto-body repair class at an area community college, said James Block, who has lived next door to him for 17 years.

"He loved to do things outside with his kids" like taking them for rides on his lawn tractor, Block said.

Dalton's wife and children were unhurt, authorities said.

The suspect was in contact with more than one person during the rampage, authorities said, but they would not elaborate. Prosecutors said they did not expect to charge anyone else.

Authorities were interviewing Dalton and reviewing his phone. They did not know if the handgun belonged to him, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said.

Authorities did not provide a motive for what they said was his targeting of victims with no apparent connection to him or to each other in the Saturday night shootings.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 

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