BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mental illness: that’s what the family of a former law enforcement officer says was the motive for murdering a dad of seven.
The fatal shooting happened outside of Moe-Z-Inn bar in the village of Morley on Saturday night around 11 p.m. The Mecosta County Sheriff says the suspect in the homicide is 48-year-old Randall Robert Jensen of Stanwood.
The victim is 47-year-old John Mast of Stanwood — known as “Amish John” because he used to be Amish. His sister, Rachel Detweiler, says it doesn’t surprise her that he died saving others.
“It’s not right,” Detweiler said. “He didn’t deserve this.”
It started as a typical Saturday night at the Moe-Z-Inn bar, which was one of Mast’s favorite hangouts. His sister says in almost an instant, everything changed.
“He (Jensen) wanted to kill somebody that night. And unfortunately, it had to be my brother,” she said.
Investigators say Jensen was also at the bar. He had been in and out, having a handful of cocktails when he pulled out a gun and started pointing it at people. That’s when witnesses say Mast stood up.
“He was like, ‘OK let’s talk about it,’” Detweiler said. “You probably did not cross his mind that this would be the end.”
The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office says Mast and Jensen went outside and Jensen fired the gun, killing Mast. Then Jensen took off. He was found the next day.
People inside the bar credit Mast for saving lives.
“He would do anything to save someone else’s life,” Detweiler said. “He was a hero.”
Jensen was arraigned on the Murder charge Monday. His parents were in the courtroom. They called their son a “disturbed man” who they’ve been trying to help for 20 years, adding he’s been in and out of treatment.
“I forgive the guy that did this because he needs forgiveness,” Detweiler said.
Investigators say the shooting appears to be random. Despite working for the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office for three years, Jensen is not talking to investigators.