Michigan suspect 'picked up Uber fares during manhunt'

Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old suspected of killing six people in US state, is expected to appear in court on Monday.

    Jason Dalton   [EPA via Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office]
    Jason Dalton [EPA via Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office]

    Authorities trying to piece together an hours-long weekend rampage that left six people dead in western Michigan have said they are investigating a report that the suspect picked up at least one fare for taxi service Uber between shootings.

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

    Dalton was expected to be appear in court on Monday.

    Authorities could not say what they believed motivated the suspect to allegedly target victims with no apparent connection to him or to each other in the Saturday night shootings.

    "How do you go and tell the families of these victims that they weren't targeted for any reason other than they were there to be a target?" Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting said at a news conference on Sunday.

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    Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas described a series of attacks that began about 6pm on Saturday outside the Meadows apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County, where a woman was shot numerous times. She was expected to survive.

    About four hours later at a car dealership 24km away, a father and his 17-year-old son were shot dead while looking at vehicles.

    Shortly afterwards, five people were shot in the car park of a Kalamazoo restaurant, Matyas said. Four of them died.

    "These are random murders," Matyas said.

    Dalton was arrested without incident at about 12.40am on Sunday after a policeman spotted his vehicle driving through downtown Kalamazoo after leaving a bar parking lot, authorities said.

    Matyas declined to disclose anything found in the vehicle except for a semi-automatic handgun.

    'Picked up fares'

    By noon, authorities were investigating a Facebook post that indicated the suspect was driving for Uber during the manhunt and had taken at least one fare, Getting said.

    A spokeswoman for Uber confirmed that Dalton was a driver for the company, but she declined to say whether he was driving on Saturday night.

    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.

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

    "This is every community's nightmare — when you have someone going around just randomly killing people, no rhyme, no reason," Getting said.

    The four people killed outside the restaurant were identified as  Mary Lou Nye, 62, of Baroda, and Mary Jo Nye, 60, Barbara Hawthorne, 68, and Dorothy Brown, 74, 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 treated in hospital and was in a critical condition.

    Meanwhile, several hundred people gathered for a church service in Kalamazoo on Sunday to remember the victims of the shooting.

    SOURCE: AP And Reuters


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