MI shooting spree leaves 6 dead

Community gathers for prayer following Saturday night's tragedy

February 21, 2016

During a prayer vigil in Kalamazoo, MI, Sunday night, participants were invited to form small groups to pray for the victims of the mass violence of the previous night and the community.
Credit: Centerpoint Church, Facebook page

Hundreds of people attended a prayer vigil Sunday night at Centerpoint Church in Kalamazoo, MI, just 24 hours after an area shooting rampage that left six dead and two seriously injured, began in the community. A second vigil is planned Monday night at the First Congregational Church.

Earlier in the day, a local minister held a blessing ritual at the intersection where the gunman was arrested.

Police said the alleged shooter was believed to be a Uber driver who picked up fares Saturday night in between shooting people in three separate locations in and around the Michigan city.

The first shooting occurred in a residential parking lot just before 6 o'clock Saturday night. There a woman was shot multiple times. About four hours later, a father and son looking at cars outside of a car dealer, were killed and shortly thereafter the gunman confronted five women outside of a local restaurant, killing four of them.

About two hours later police apprehended Jason Brian Dalton, 45, of Kalamazoo who is expected to be arraigned in court Monday afternoon. No motive has been proposed for the seemingly random attacks.

By the time the third shooting occurred local and state police, the county sheriff's department and a college police force were collaborating to find the suspect. In an early morning news conference, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting credited the collaboration as being responsible for the quick arrest of the suspect.

The alleged shooter was apprehended just three blocks from North Presbyterian Church (USA) of Kalamazoo. The Rev. J. Barrett Lee, pastor of the church, threw out his scripture and sermon and decided to preach from Luke 13:31-35 instead. The closing hymn. "Goodness is stronger than evil," by Desmond Tutu

According to his blog, following the service, Lee took the water from the church's baptismal font and walked to the intersection where he blessed each of the four corners. This ritual was done, he said, "in the name of all who support Kalamazoo with their prayers."

Kalamazoo, a city in the southwestern portion of the state located midway between Detroit and Chicago, is not a stranger to gun violence. But in the past two years has begun several programs designed to reduce violence, particularly from gangs. It has become a partner city with the National Network for Safe Communities and is a partner with the International Cities of Peace.

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Related Links:

Sunday's Sermon at North Presbyterian Church

Center for Public Violence Resilience


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