Neighbor: Spree shooter ‘was here to kill’

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — “He was here to kill, like to shoot somebody.”

That’s how Travis Gettys described the man suspected of shooting and wounding a woman at Richland Township townhomes complex, then killing six people and wounding one more at two other locations in the Kalamazoo area Saturday.

At the Meadows Townhomes, tire tracks from the car taking off were still visible Sunday and spray paint marked where 10 bullet casings were found. Seven bullet holes could be seen in siding at the front of a near-by apartment.

Neighbors told 24 Hour News 8 that kids were out playing just before 6 p.m. Saturday when the shooter circled around the block before he opened fire.

“I heard something hit the siding so I checked out the back window, saw the car driving off, so I look out here and there is a woman laying here,” 17 year-old James George said.

The victim was George’s neighbor.

“She was laying right here and bullets right there; her head was propped up like right there,” George’s friend, 17-year-old Devin Fletter, showed 24 Hour News 8.

Neighbors say the woman recently moved in to the Meadows and was outside with her kids when the shooter, believed to be 45-year-old Jason Dalton, asked if she was a woman with a different name. People who spoke to 24 Hour News 8 said they think it was a ploy to get her to come close to his car.

“She was talking about her kids, talking about, ‘He asked if I was so-and-so,'” said George’s mother, Tammy.

Witnesses say the victim’s three children were outside with her. Thankfully, they ran away and avoided being shot.

James George and his friends, who were playing video games, also avoided injury when four of the bullets came flying through the wall of his home.

“If it was a more high-powered gun, if you look at the bullet holes, it was heading right toward us,” Gettys, 16, said.

>>PHOTOS: Kalamazoo County shooting rampage

Neighbors are shaken.

“It’s my understanding there is about 16 casings out here. Her and her kids are very lucky. Everyone was very lucky here, but at the other things not,” said Tammy.

At the request of the family, the name of the victim has not been released. The sheriff’s office says it expects to release it Monday.

The woman had surgery on Sunday, 24 Hour News 8, but the outcome of that surgery is not yet known. Stay with 24 Hour News 8 for updates as they become available.

The other wounded victim, a 14-year-old who Dalton allegedly shot at a Cracker Barrel in Texas Township, also had surgery on Sunday.

The six people killed were identified as 17-year-old Tyler Smith and his 53-year-old father Richard Smith, who were killed at a Kalamazoo car dealership; and 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye, 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye, 74-year-old Dorothy Brown and 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne, who were shot at the Cracker Barrel.

Dalton was arrested early Sunday and is expected to be in court Monday to be charged with murder.

>>TIMELINE: Kalamazoo County shooting rampage

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