Kalamazoo shooting spree suspect: Uber made me 'feel like a puppet'

Investigators have released dash-cam video and 911 recordings from the late February shootings.

KALAMAZOO, MICH. - Kalamazoo shooting suspect Jason Dalton told police the Uber app "has the ability to take you over." 

That and other revelations of the Feb. 20 shooting spree were disclosed Monday in at least 100 pages of documents following a WZZM 13 Freedom of Information Act request with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department. 

Kalamazoo shooting spree: What we know

Dalton, a relatively new driver with Uber at the time, said the app controlled him like it was an artificial presence. The system would switch from black to red -- and when it switched back, that's when "Dalton got his presence back." 

He elaborated to police that all his problems started when he pressed a button on the screen and a devil head popped up. It appeared like a horned cow head, and then it would give provide an assignment that would "literally take over" your body, Dalton told police.

The documents describe witnesses' and Dalton's accounts of before, during and after night of the shooting on Feb. 20. Dalton was arrested shortly after midnight Sunday, Feb. 21.

"When I logged onto site (the Uber app), it started making me feel like a puppet," said Dalton during the police interview.

Dalton allegedly shot and wounded Tiana Carruthers around 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, in the parking lot of the Meadows townhomes complex. In a statement Carruthers gave police, she describes a man matching Dalton's description "cut her off" with his vehicle and asked her a question. She says he drove away, but then turned around and when he was about 10 feet away "pulled out a large, black gun" and started shooting at her. A police report says there were ten casings found in the parking lot.

Another police document describes someone else in the apartment complex ordering an Uber for her boyfriend around 5:15 p.m. that day. She says she first sent the address of the complex office, then texted the driver the correction. Around 6:00 p.m. she got a call from Dalton, saying that "something had come up and he could not do the pick up." She described the call as "rude."

Around 10 p.m., police say then he killed Mattawan senior Tyler Smith, 17, and his father Rich, 53, at a Seelye Kia car dealership. A witness statement from Tyler's girlfriend, who was in the backseat of their car during the shooting, says Dalton started shooting immediately after speaking to them. He held the gun with two hands, and fired "so many rounds that he wouldn't miss."

Minutes later, Dalton allegedly shot and killed four people -- Mary Jo Nye, 60; Mary Lou Nye, 62; Barbara Hawthorne, 68; and Dorothy "Judy" Brown, 70 -- in the parking lot of a Kalamazoo-area Cracker Barrel restaurant. 

Abigail Kopf was shot and has been recovering since.

Dalton faces six charges of open murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder and eight counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Documents show he told his wife she wouldn't be able to go to work, nor would their children go to school --they'd understand by watching the news.

Dalton's wife, Carole, told investigators that she was confused by what her husband told her the night of the shootings. Upon switching cars, he told her she wouldn't be able to return to work and that the kids couldn't go back to school.

"Jason replied to (his wife) that she would see what he was talking about on the news and that it probably wouldn't say his name, but as soon as she saw it on the news she would know it was him," the report said.

Dalton was arrested early Sunday morning after the attacks near Ransom and Porter streets in downtown Kalamazoo.

In his report, Sgt. James Harrison said he saw a dark-colored Chevy HHR “slowly cruising through a parking lot" on the west side of downtown Kalamazoo.

Harrison began to follow the car, whose driver matched the description of the suspect. The car stopped directly in front of the Wild Bull Bar and Grill in a no-parking zone, where the officer said about 30-40 people were standing outside.

It drove off.

After three officers were present, Harrison said he stopped the vehicle a few blocks from the Wild Bull. Dalton had a gun in his right pocket, Harrison said — a Walther brand semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine clip. He, too, had a folding knife and two JCPenney receipts on his body.

Harrison said he asked Dalton if the gun was registered in his name. “Dalton did not respond to my questioning and continued staring blankly ahead the whole time while walking him to the patrol vehicle,” Harrison’s report said.

A search of Dalton's home led to the discovery of a room in his basement full of firearms and camping equipment: airsoft pellets, firearm ammunition, casings, bullets, black powder, holsters, and knives. A total of 11 long guns and two hand guns were found in the home.

Sarah Sell, Alex Shabad, Chris Singel, Erin Zacek and Jennifer Bowman of the Battle Creek Enquirer contributed to this report.

(© 2016 WZZM)


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment