By the time Jason Dalton allegedly began his random Saturday night killing spree in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, more than a dozen people had already been shot in multiple-victim incidents since the weekend’s start. When the dawn broke on Sunday, ten people would be dead and 19 wounded in such attacks across the country.
According to data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), 80 people were killed and 150 wounded by gunfire between Friday afternoon and Sunday night — a rate of more than one fatality per hour. The new figures bring the total of gun deaths in 2016 to 1,754, according to GVA’s count. An additional 3,437 people have been injured by bullets.
Saturday’s stunning rampage began at 5:42 p.m. in an apartment complex parking lot. There, police say Dalton shot a woman several times, leaving her seriously wounded. The 45-year-old Uber driver then reportedly delivered a fare without incident — despite having been reported to 911 for erratic driving earlier in the day. Dalton struck next at a Kia dealership, where he allegedly gunned down a father and son. Richard Smith, 53, and Tyler Daniel Smith, 17, died as a result of their wounds. Dalton picked up another Uber fare and dropped off his passengers at a Fairfield Inn. Police say he approached two cars parked outside a neighboring Cracker Barrel restaurant and opened fire, killing Dorothy Brown, 74; Barbara Hawthorne, 68; Mary Lou Nye, 62; and her sister-in-law, Mary Jo Nye, 60. A 14-year-old girl was also critically injured. The group had just caught a show at a nearby theater.
Over the next two hours, Dalton scooped up his final fare of the night — “’I jokingly said to the driver, ‘You aren’t the shooter, are you?’” his passenger told WOODTV — before being arrested at a traffic stop after midnight. A semiautomatic handgun was found in the vehicle. Police do not have a motive. “There’s nothing that gives us any indication as to why he would do this or what would have triggered this,” Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley Hadley told reporters. “The victims did not know him; he did not know the victims.”
In total, Dalton’s alleged shooting spree lasted nearly seven hours, claimed six lives, and left two others gravely wounded. But the bloodshed in Kalamazoo was just a fraction of the weekend’s total gun violence, and one of several incidents in which four or more people were shot. Here, gleaned from news reports, a roundup of the weekend’s grisly toll:
How Many People Have Been Shot Near You This Year?
- A man was killed and three others — including a 9-year-old boy — were wounded when two men randomly sprayed a parked car with gunfire in Vallejo, California, on Friday afternoon. “It was quiet in the street, and all of a sudden it was a battle zone,” Brad Flaherty, who lives two doors down from the shooting scene, told SFGate.
- Manuel Ortiz, 28, was killed and three others — ages 20, 22, and 33 — were wounded after gunfire broke out in a hookah bar parking lot in Tampa, Florida, around 4:15 a.m. on Saturday. Police do not have a description of the suspect. Ortiz had served prison time for gun-related offenses.
- A 37-year-old man was shot and killed and four men — ages 28, 37, 37, and 45 — were wounded when a fight broke out around a burn barrell in the Mobile Junction neighborhood in Bessemer, Alabama, Saturday afternoon.
- Four people were shot and wounded during a robbery at a grocery store in Parramore, Florida, at around 9 p.m. on Saturday. Roy Stephens, 34, was arrested and charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery. “He came in the store quietly,” a 13-year-old girl who witnessed the shooting told WFTV. “I ran out … so he wouldn’t see me.”
- A 37-year-old woman was killed and three others were wounded when someone opened fire on their car on Interstate 270 in Hazelwood, Missouri, at around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.
[Photo: Mark Bugnaski/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP]