‘You’re not the shooter, are you?’ Witnesses describe rides with accused Michigan gunman

Multiple witnesses have come forward to describe harrowing car trips Saturday night with Jason Dalton, the Uber driver accused of killing six people and critically injuring two others during a six-hour shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Mich. 

The witnesses’ testimony indicates that Dalton was picking up fares in between carrying out the apparently random shootings. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed Sunday that Dalton was a driver for the ride-sharing service, but did not say whether he was working Saturday night. 

MLive reported that a Facebook post from a woman named Mackenzie Waite described an Uber driver named Jason as “not a safe ride”. Waite, who said in the post that her fiance had booked a ride with Dalton, claimed that Dalton sideswiped a car while running a stop sign and then drove 80 miles per hour down a local street “swerving in and out of oncoming traffic”.

Waite’s post was timestampted at 5:33 p.m. Saturday, about 30 minutes before the first shooting took place. Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting confirmed to MLive that law enforcement knew about the post. 

Fox17 reported that a local couple, Jamie and Kacey Black saw a man jump out of a vehicle they recognized later as Dalton’s. The man told them the driver had been driving erratically and would not let him out. It was not immediately clear whether the man was Waite’s fiance.

Kacey Black said she called 911 to report the driver, but said “I felt like they didn’t believe me. They just kind of laughed at me.”

At 6 p.m., a woman was shot multiple times outside an apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County. She was expected to survive. 

At around 7 p.m., Dalton’s next door neighbor James Block told the Associated Press that his 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.

A Kalamazoo man with the Twitter handle IamKeithBlack posted Sunday that Dalton had given him a ride at around 8 p.m. A receipt he posted indicated that Dalton had driven him 4.8 miles and the ride had lasted 10 minutes. 

About four hours after the initial shooting and 15 miles away, a man and his son were shot to death while looking at vehicles at Seelye Kia of Kalamazoo.

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.

At around midnight, an Indiana man visiting Kalamazoo with his wife and in-laws decided to call for an Uber ride after hearing about the shooting spree. They were told their driver’s name would be Jason, and he would be driving a Chevrolet HHR. 

The couple, who told Fox17 they did not wish to be identified, said the driver seemed to be aware of the news about an active shooter.

“I halfheartedly joked at him and said ‘You are not the shooter are you?’,” the man said, “and he said ‘no’, and I said ‘are you sure’, and he said ‘no, I’m just really tired.'”

Dalton told his passengers that he had been driving for seven hours that day. The couple said they did not smell gunpowder or notice a weapon inside the car. WOOD-TV reported that the foursome were dropped off at a Radisson hotel at around 20 minutes after midnight. 

About 20 minutes later, he was arrested without incident about after a deputy spotted his vehicle driving through downtown Kalamazoo after leaving a bar parking lot. A semi-automatic handgun was found in the car.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

comments powered by Disqus