Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prosecutor: Kalamazoo Suspect Admits to Deadly Shootings

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prosecutor: Kalamazoo Suspect Admits to Deadly Shootings

Article excerpt

KALAMAZOO, Mich. * The ride-hailing service Uber acknowledged Monday that it received complaints about erratic driving by the suspect in the random shootings that killed six people in Kalamazoo, and a prosecutor said the man admitted carrying out the attacks.

The prosecutor said Jason Dalton, 45, picked up Uber fares after the first shooting and probably got more riders after the subsequent shootings.

Dalton, a former insurance adjuster who lived in rural Kalamazoo County, appeared briefly in court by video link and was charged with six counts of murder. A judge denied him bail.

During a talk with investigators, Dalton waived his right against self-incrimination and confessed his role in the Saturday night shootings, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said.

Dalton admitted "that he took people's lives," Kalamazoo police Detective Cory Ghiringhelli told the court. The murder charges carry a mandatory life sentence. Michigan does not have the death penalty.

An Uber passenger said he called police to report that Dalton was driving erratically more than an hour before the shootings began.

Matt Mellen told Kalamazoo television station WWMT that he hailed a ride around 4:30 p.m. local time Saturday. He said Dalton introduced himself as "Me-Me" and had a dog in the backseat.

Mellen sat in front. About a mile into the trip, Dalton got a phone call, and when he hung up, he began driving recklessly, blowing through stop signs, Mellen said.

"We were driving through medians, driving through the lawn, speeding along, and when we came to a stop, I jumped out of the car and ran away," Mellen said. He said he called police and that when he got to his friend's house, his fiance posted a warning to friends on Facebook.

Uber said riders complained Saturday about Dalton's driving. When alerted to unsafe driving, company policy is to contact the driver. But Uber officials would not say whether the company spoke to him.

Dalton passed a background check and became a driver on Jan. 25. He had given about 100 rides, the company said.

Since Dalton's arrest, several people have come forward to say that he picked them up for Uber in the hours after the first attack. …

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