Kalamazoo holds vigil for shooting victims

- The Kalamazoo community came together to heal Monday night after a mass shooting killed six and injured two this past weekend.

The ceremony honored the victims who died in the shooting, including father and son Richard and Tyler Smith, 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye and her sister-in-law 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye, 74-year-old Dorothy Brown and 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne.

A 14-year-old girl who was also shot in the rampage is still in the hospital in critical condition. Many of the prayers said during the service were for her.

“We are a community that is much more than this episode of violence and tragedy,” said Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

He said the community has been overwhelmed with love and support after Saturday’s shooting, including a call from President Obama offering condolences.

Uber driver Jason Dalton is accused of going on a seven-hour long rampage, opening fire at an apartment complex, a car dealership and a Cracker Barrel restaurant.

“No one understands why it happened,” said Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting. “That adds to the fear and sorrow.”

Dalton’s family released a statement saying, “This type of violence has no place in our society, and we express our love and support for everyone involved. We intend to cooperate in any way that we can to help determine how this occurred.”

One man in attendance at the vigil Monday said he lives near Dalton and knew him in passing.

“I would never expect it,” Ben Jamieson said. “In recent years, I didn’t know where his soul or psyche was.”

At Western Michigan University, another community meeting was held Monday evening concerning the university’s failure to send safety alerts to the students during the series of shootings.

“We did not adequately meet your need for information,” Western Michigan University President John Dunn said. “Some of this, of course, is attributed to not having information ourselves. And some is attributed now to hindsight as more information surfaces.”

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