Family of Kalamazoo shooting spree victims confront killer during sentencing

Jason Dalton sentenced to life in prison

By Jason Colthorp - Anchor/Reporter, Amber Ainsworth, Ken Haddad

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Family members of victims who died during a 2016 shooting spree in Kalamazoo confronted their loved ones' killer in court.

Jason Dalton, who pleaded guilty to killing six and injuring two others in a shooting spree in west Michigan, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday

Dalton, 48, was scheduled to stand trial on a list of charges including murder and attempted murder, but instead he pleaded guilty to all of the charges. He shot eight people in three locations in the Kalamazoo area Feb. 20 and 21, 2016, in between picking up riders for Uber.

Dalton showed no emotion as those impacted by the shootings shared their pain during his sentencing.

Laurie Smith remembered her son, who -- along with her husband -- was fatally shot by Dalton.

"He was and always will be my precious baby boy," she said.

The hurt shared by the victims' families was accompanied by a hatred for what Dalton did.

"What kind of a person walks up to a father and son and shoots them over and over and over until they don't move? A coward, that's who," Emily Lemmere said.

Lemmere's father and brother were two of Dalton's victims.

"You are nothing but very ugly and dark," said Lara Hawthorne, whose aunt was killed.

Shooting survivor confronts Dalton

One of the survivors of the 2016 mass shooting in Kalamazoo confronted her attacker in court on Tuesday.

Dalton was confronted by several family members of victims at his sentencing hearing. He was also confronted by one of the survivors of the shooting: Tiana Carruthers.

Carruthers has had a long road to recovery since the shooting. In court on Tuesday, she demanded Dalton look at her. He refused.

"You tried to kill us all. You failed. I'm standing right in front of you," Carruthers said. "I'm still standing here...how does that make you feel...look at me."

Dalton showed no emotion as she demanded he look at her. The judge noted his refusal. 

Watch her full victim impact statement above.

Timeline of shootings (February 2016)

Feb. 20 - 5:42 p.m.

One woman was shot several times outside Meadow Townhomes in Richland Township in the presence of her three children. She was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

Feb. 20. 9 p.m.

Police said a father and son were shot and killed at Seelye Kia in Kalamazoo

Feb. 20. - 10:24 p.m.

Authorities say the shooter fired bullets into two vehicles outside the Cracker Barrel in Texas Township, killing four people. 

Feb. 20. - 12:40 a.m.

A Kalamazoo County deputy pulled over the suspect's vehicle at Ransom Street in Kalamazoo. He is arrested.

Feb. 21. - 5:30 a.m.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley identified the suspect as 45-year-old Jason Dalton. Police began searching his home, located northwest of Kalamazoo.

Feb. 21. - 12 p.m.

Michigan State Police identify 4 victims: Mary Lou Nye, 62, of Baroda, Mich. Mary Jo Nye, 60, of Battle Creek, Mich.; Dorothy Brown, 74, of Battle Creek, Mich.; Barbara Hawthorne, 68, of Battle Creek, Mich.

Feb. 21 - 3 p.m.

Michigan State Police identify 2 more victims: Richard Smith and Tyler Smith.

Feb. 21 - 3:45 p.m.

Western Michigan University Presidents issues statement admitting the university "failed" to provide adequate information and updates while the shootings were happening.

Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.