GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A letter Rodrick Dantzler wrote to his mother helps explain why he started his murderous rampage, and it appears he first was targeting his mother-in-law, police and prosecutors said Tuesday.
Dantzler killed seven people before taking his own life on July 7 -- a rampage that included a high-speed chase and standoff with authorities in Grand Rapids.
"I gonna take her with me!!" Dantzler wrote.
The letter, addressed to "Mama," was among hundreds of pages of documents released Tuesday by the Grand Rapids Police Department.
"I know you gonna b (sic) sad and disappointed, but I'm tired of living with these demons in my head," Dantzler wrote in the undated letter. "I tried to get help but the medicine didn't help.
"It seems like everyone that loves me walk out of my life. I never wanted a bad relationship with my kids, but that turned out bad.
"If hell is anything like what I deal with on a regular basis, then I'll be fine. Maybe God will understand and have mercy on my soul."
He wrote about his mother-in-law, getting between him and his wife, Jennifer.
"Jenny mama has always tried 2 butt in our relationship. She made it hard 4 Jenny 2 develop into a woman. 13.5 years of being together and she pretty much talked her into leaving me....
"I don't have anything nice 2 say about her! I gonna take her with me!!"
Police also got insight into the rampage when they interviewed Dantzler's friend, Willie Cunningham, who didn't know about the shooting when he picked up Dantzler that day. They drove around for several hours before Cunningham got a call from his girlfriend about the murders.
Cunningham asked him what was going on, and Dantzler responded he had "just lost it," according to the prosecutor's report on the incident.
Dantzler told him he had killed his wife's father first and then her mother, before shooting his wife and his 10-year-old daughter. He told Cunningham he killed another girl because she owed him money from "a long time ago."
He didn't say anything about the other girl, or that he had killed two other people with her.
He killed his wife, Jennifer Heeren, their daughter, Kamrie; his wife's parents, Thomas and Rebecca Heeren, at one home. And he killed his former girlfriend, Kimberlee Emkens, her sister, Amanda Emkens, and Amanda's daughter, Marissa.
Dantzler then killed himself following a standoff with police.
Forsyth on Tuesday said he doesn't believe Dantzler killed the Emkens family over an old debt.
"There had to be more to it than that," he said. "We'll never know what it was."
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