KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Jason Dalton lived with his wife and two kids in a small ranch-style house in a rural area of Michigan and shuttled people around the Kalamazoo area for the ride-sharing service Uber.
The 45-year-old former insurance adjustor had no known criminal history before he was arrested Sunday in a series of seemingly random shootings that killed six people, including a father and son shopping at a car dealership and a retired teacher at a restaurant. He’s expected to appear in court Monday on murder charges.
Dalton never showed any signs of violence around neighbors.
“The guy was a family man that for all intents and purposes seemed to stick with his family,” said Gary Pardo Jr., whose parents live across the street from Dalton in Kalamazoo Township.
Police from several agencies were seeking a motive behind the shootings, which started Saturday evening outside an apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County where a woman was wounded.
The next attack occurred about four hours later and 15 miles away, where a man and his son were looking at vehicles at Seelye Kia of Kalamazoo when both were shot to death.
Then, 15 minutes later, gunfire erupted outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Four women, including retired school teacher Mary Jo Nye, were slain. A 14-year-old girl was wounded.
In his dealings with neighbors, Dalton seemed fixated on cars and often worked on them, Pardo said, explaining that Dalton had, at times, owned a Chevrolet Camaro and two Hummer SUVs. He once worked for Progressive Insurance before leaving the company in 2011.
“He would go a month without mowing his lawn but was very meticulous with his cars,” Pardo said.
Progressive Insurance confirmed that Dalton once worked for the company before leaving in 2011.
Police were at Dalton’s home early Sunday morning and carried out multiple boxes, said James Block, who lives next door. He said Dalton was a great neighbor for 17 years. The two men would talk at the fence that separates their properties. Block said he knew Dalton had a handgun because the two men had discussed it.
Something out of the ordinary happened Saturday night not long after the shootings began, he said.
About 7 p.m., Block’s niece saw Dalton drive out his driveway. When he got to the street, he stopped and rapidly backed toward his garage, turning his vehicle so the lights shined toward Block’s house, Block said. Then he drove off, Block said.
“He was there between the shootings,” Block said.
Dalton loved to do auto-body repair in a large garage next to his home, Block said, and once taught an auto body repair class at Kellogg Community College.
“He loved to do things outside with his kids,” Block said, like taking them for rides on his lawn tractor.