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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Silence From Uber Driver Arraigned on Shooting

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (CN) - An Uber driver charged with killing six people in a shooting rampage between fares refused to address the court at his arraignment Monday.

Jason Brian Dalton, 45, was arrested shortly after the carnage Saturday, which began at about 5:40 p.m. with the shooting of Tiana Carruthers at the playground of the Meadows Town homes.

Carruthers, who positioned herself in between her children and the gunman, survived multiple shots from a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and helped authorities identify Dalton as the shooter.

Prosecutors say Dalton continued taking Uber fares after shooting the woman until shortly after 10 p.m., when he shot and killed 17-year-old Tyler Smith and his father, Richard, as they looked at cars at Seelye Automotive.

The next shooting occurred at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Texas Township.

Mary Lou Nye, Mary Joe Nye, Dorothy Brown and Barbara Hawthorne were killed in their cars, and 14-year-old Abigail Kopf was critically wounded.

Kopf was actually pronounced dead originally only to be resuscitated at the hospital where she was taken to have her organs harvested for donation.

News reports quoted the teen's mother, Vicki Kopf, as having alerting doctors that the girl they thought was dead had squeezed her hand.

"She is alive and is fighting for her life," Vicki Kopf said, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Police said Dalton admitted to taking lives after his arrest, but the father of two reportedly remained silent and expressionless at his arraignment Monday.

"I would prefer just to remain silent," Dalton said, requesting only that the court appoint him an attorney, according to video of the hearing.

Charged with six counts of open murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight felony firearm charges, Dalton had no prior criminal history.

He is due back in court on March 3.

Gene Kopf, the father of shooting victim Abigail, expressed sympathy both for the families of the other victims and to the Dalton family.

"Our thoughts are with the Dalton family who are also suffering at this time," he said, according to a report by WZZM. "We want his family to know that we don't hold anything against the family members."

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