GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – On Thursday, July 7, Rodrick Shonte Dantzler shot seven people to death before taking hostages during a standoff with police. After several hours of negotiation, Dantzler took his own life. The hostages survived the ordeal and were not injured.
Below is a look at the seven people killed in Dantzler’s shooting rampage in Grand Rapids:
- Jennifer Marie Heeren, 29
Heeren, an ex-girlfriend of gunman Rodrick Dantzler, was killed along with their 12-year-old daughter and her own parents. Heeren was described by the produce company her father co-owned as “an intelligent young woman who was extremely motivated and very focused on caring for her young daughter.”
- Kamrie Deann Heeren-Dantzler, 12
Kamrie, daughter of Dantzler and Heeren, was a straight-A student at Northview Middle School who loved to read and go camping with her grandparents, who also died in the rampage.
A neighbor described the girl as sweet. Jannelle Windemuller said her husband had given Kamrie an old basketball hoop a few weeks ago during a garage sale. Kamrie asked how much it cost and was told she could have it for free. The girl seemed delighted, running out of the house a couple days later to say, “Thanks again for that hoop.”
Kamrie rode her bike a lot and played with her father’s pit bulls. “She was kind of quiet, but she seemed happy,” Windemuller said. She and her dad “were always playing outside.”
- Rebecca Lynn Heeren, 52
The Heeren matriarch was described as “outspoken, funny and kept her family going.” The produce company that her husband co-owned issued a statement that said she “loved people and adored all children,” including her own and those of her siblings. Her husband, Thomas, jokingly referred to her as “the general.”
- Thomas Heeren, 51
Heeren was a proud, hard-working third-generation co-owner of the family business, Heeren Brothers Produce. The company said in a statement that he was dedicated to the company and to his family. He spent his entire career at the Grand Rapids wholesaler of fruits and vegetables in sales and marketing. A favorite customer recently described him as “rough around the edges” but possessing “the warmest heart of anyone.” “We remember him as a man with the kindest of hearts who would give you the shirt off his back,” a company release said.
- Kimberlee Ann Emkens, 23
Emkens, another former girlfriend of the gunman, lived with a sister named Amanda and a 10-year-old niece named Marissa, both of whom were also killed.
“Aunt Kimmie was sure to chaperone all the field trips she could,” said Robin Sorge, principal of North Park Elementary School, where Marissa attended classes.
Roofer Dennis Rozanski was a friend of Kimberlee and Amanda Emkens. He said the three grew up together, and he often relied on the sisters for help. “They’re great people. The only reason I’m out here now is because of them,” Rozanski said. “They kept me out of so much trouble. Every time I called them, they were there.”
- Amanda Renee Emkens, 27
Emkens, Kimberlee Emkens’ older sister, was described by a friend as the “nicest, sweetest person you could imagine, full of life and love.” Jennilee Orear told The Grand Rapids Press that she was a great mother to daughter Marissa, who also died in the shootings.
Amanda Emkens had worked at AAA Michigan’s call center in Grand Rapids since May. Her Facebook page said she studied occupational therapy at Grand Rapids Community College and was a graduate of the city’s Creston High School.
- Marissa Lynn Emkens, 10
The daughter of Amanda Renee Emkens, Marissa had just completed fourth grade at North Park Elementary School and volunteered in the school’s front office.
Principal Robin Sorge said she shared a first name with the school secretary, and they forged a bond over that. Sorge said Marissa was offered a job in the office “as a way to get her to like school a little more.” She took to it eagerly, greeting visitors, getting little kids bandages and giving hugs. “She asked her mom to pick her up late every day so she could work in the office,” Sorge said.
As the year progressed, so did Marissa, who Sorge described as being “as much of a girlie-girl as you could get.” “We will be missing a piece when school starts again in the fall,” Sorge said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.