GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Rodrick Dantzler, the man behind the Grand Rapids shooting rampage that took the lives of seven people, was a man prone to violence.
Copies of Dantzler's court files, obtained by 24 Hour News 8, date back to 1992 when Dantzler was just 15.
His first crime involved a breaking and entering of an occupied home.
He has a lengthy criminal record:
- 1992 -- breaking and entering an occupied dwelling; felony stolen vehicle
- 1997 -- domestic violence; malicious destruction of property (guilty plea to both)
- 2000 -- felony assault (guilty plea)
- 2010 -- misdemeanor assault (guilty plea)
He jumped from juvenile court to the adult criminal justice system.
24 Hour News 8 found four personal protection orders filed against Dantzler, including one from his own mother.
In 1995, Dantzler's mother told the court her son tried to set fire to their apartment. She made note of his "very explosive temper..."
In a different set of court documents, a close female friend recalled, "he slapped me in the face and swore at me and left," after an argument about a missing cassette tape in 1997.
Later that year, a woman carrying his child told a judge, "I won't be able to leave him with the baby and myself still being alive."
In 1999 another woman wrote, "he pushed me back and slammed the car door on my legs."
Then his violence began to escalate even more.
According to court documents, Dantzler was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in 2000 for a road rage incident in which he shot at a man and woman in another vehicle.
A Department of Corrections psychologist evaluating Dantzler while he was in prison wrote: "It appears that Mr. Dantzler may have become angry at a young age largely due to not having his father in his life."
Dantzler abused alcohol, the report said, noting he also grew up with an abusive stepfather who also used drugs in the home.
While in prison, he seemed to have success in prison rehabilitation programs, and earned his high school equivalency. He took part in other programs aimed at curbing his anger and helping him succeed outside the prison walls.
But Rodrick Dantzler's final relapse came out in a violent outburst that left seven people dead and a community in shock.
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