Several hundred people gathered for a community vigil in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Sunday (21 February) to remember the six victims of fatal shootings by an Uber taxi driver. Jason Dalton is currently under arrest for the killings, with police now investigating reports that he may have also taken customers of the car-hailing service on the night of the rampage.
Prosecutors have alleged that Dalton, 45, opened fire apparently at random in parking areas outside an apartment building, a car dealership and at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in the Kalamazoo district of the city, which is about 150 miles west of Detroit. Two other people were wounded, including a teenage girl who was initially thought to have died. At the vigil, people held hands as they prayed for victims and the alleged gunman, Jason Dalton, at Centerpoint Church. The incident is the latest in a series of mass shootings that have elevated gun control as a campaign issue in the November US presidential election.
Michigan State Police said the violence began at about 5.30pm local time with the report of a woman wounded outside an apartment building. At around 10pm, a father and son were killed at the car dealership. Dalton allegedly opened fire outside the restaurant about 15 minutes later. The four slain women have been identified as Mary Lou Nye, 62, of Baroda, Michigan; Dorothy Brown, 74; Barbara Hawthorne, 68; and Mary Jo Nye, 60, all of Battle Creek, Michigan, state police have said.
The attack also prompted renewed interest in how Uber vets its drivers, who use their personal vehicles to ferry customers at prices that are generally below those of established taxi companies. Critics say the company's vetting process is flawed because it never meets with potential drivers in person.
Dalton is expected to be arraigned on 22 February on charges of murder, assault and firearms violations, the prosecutor said. A semi-automatic pistol was reportedly found in Dalton's car. Police have said that he had no known criminal record.