GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) – Grand Rapids Police say a man wanted for killing seven people shot and killed himself late Thursday night after holding three people hostage inside a house for several hours.
Police say Rodrick Dantzler had agreed to surrender when he took his own life.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk said the seven people killed included one child, found dead along with two women in one house. Three women and a man were found dead at another other home.
Speaking to WOOD-TV Chief Belk said the killings were not random acts of violence.
“We do believe one of them was his (Dantzler’s) daughter, one was an ex-girlfriend, the other one was an ex-girlfriend but our understanding had been quite some time since there had been any relationship.”
Dantzler led police on a chase before jumping out of a car and into a house near where the other victims were found.
“We’re trying to gather information, trying to locate witnesses, determine exactly what happened. But we do have reason to believe that the suspect that we’ve identified is the person responsible for all seven homicides,” Chief Belk said.
Early Friday morning, just minutes after the standoff ended, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder issued a statement offering “sincere condolences and deepest sympathies” to the families who lost loved ones.
“I commend the brave men and women serving as law enforcement officers, first responders and emergency personnel who have worked tirelessly to protect citizens and bring an end to this tragedy. The entire state of Michigan stands with the City of Grand Rapids and remains committed to helping the victims, families and community through this difficult time,” the statement said.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 Thursday afternoon as the story developed, WOOD-TV reporter Paul Ciccini said family members have told them Dantzler was recently released from prison and is “very distraught”.
“What is being rumored is that he killed his estranged wife, who was among the victims. As for everybody else, they may have just been collateral damage,” said Ciccini.
WWMT-TV reporter Jennifer Dowlings talked about how the case unfolded.
“We’re told by friends of the family that (a Grand Rapids woman) came home from work and found her two adult daughters, somewhere in their mid-20s’s, deceased in that home, along with their 10-year-old granddaughter,” Dowlings said.
“So, a very emotional scene out here as other family members come together to support here and mourn the deaths themselves,” she said.
Dowlings said the suspect had reportedly gotten into a fight with his girlfriend earlier in the day, and told friends he wanted to “kill them all.”