GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Grand Rapids police were justified in firing shots at Rodrick Dantzler after his murderous rampage through the city, Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth said Tuesday.
Forsyth released a 13-page report on the July 7 murders, chase and standoff that ended with Dantzler's suicide. He had killed seven people.
In the report, Forsyth wrote that five officers took shots at Dantzler, including an officer who confronted the man downtown and an officer who fired at him inside a northeast side home in which the gunman took hostages.
"I would like to commend you and the entire department for their actions throughout this unprecedented tragedy," Forsyth wrote. "I am convinced but for the extraordinary efforts of the Grand Rapids Police Department additional lives could have been lost. Their courage and professionalism are a tribute to your leadership and a credit to this community."
During their investigation, they found a note written by Dantzler at his home that provided some explanation as to why he killed his estranged wife, 10-year-old daughter, his mother- and father-in-law, his ex-girlfriend, her sister and her daughter.
"He talks about the fact that he has problems in his life," Forsyth said of the letter. "That he always wanted to have a good relationship with his kids and his family, and that he believed his mother-in-law might have been the wedge there that had driven his wife away from him. And that she had left with the children, the daughter."
Danztler's wife Jennifer Heeren had left him several days before in the incident. According to police reports, she was so afraid of him that she parked her car in different places so he would not be able to find her.
Dantzler repeated that to other witnesses during the course of the day, Forsyth said. "But to explain why he carried it to this extreme, we'll never know the answer to that."
Investigators cannot fathom why Danztler killed his daughter Kamrie. "There's no reason why he should have shot his daughter, no reason he should have shot the people in Plainfield, or anything else he did that day," said Forsyth.
Dantzler -- who had been drinking vodka and snorting cocaine on the day of the murders -- told a friend that he had shot his former girlfriend Kimberlee Emkins because she owned him money. Forsyth doesn't buy that explanation.
"I don't believe that you're going to go over and execute two adults and a child because somebody in the house owed you money a long time ago," he said. "He clearly had some problems, and adding alcohol and a lot of cocaine is not a good idea. And he was just angry."
GRPD Chief Kevin Belk said he's aware the release of this information is bound to open some old wounds.
Survivors of July 7th said seeing the information released was difficult and they're trying to put that day behind them.
Video extras: Police dashcam video of the chase of Rodrick Dantzler.
A driver escaped safely after its vehicle crashed into the Grand River in Ottawa County Friday morning.
We get a brief break from the "lake-effect machine" Friday.
A few flurries occurred Thursday night. Lows held in the teens and the wind relaxed to the 5 to 10 mph range, with 20s at the Lake Michigan.