Jason Dalton took the lives of six people during a deadly rampage on February 20, 2016 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Kalamazoo shooting victims were going about their lives on a Saturday night, when they were gunned down outside an apartment complex, a car dealership and a Cracker Barrel. Two additional victims were injured, but survived the shooting.
Dalton was an Uber driver who is serving a life sentence in prison. In a surprising move, he went against his lawyer’s advice and pleaded guilty in the shooting on February 5, 2019. Read more about his life now and his court case here.
ABC 20/20 is revisiting the Kalamazoo shooting rampage on its encore episode, “The Deadly Ride,” which airs at 9 p.m. EST.
Dalton claimed “his body had been taken over” by the Uber app, according to a motion filed in his case.
Here are the stories of his victims:
Father and Son Rich & Tyler Smith Were the First Victims Killed by Dalton
About four hours after Dalton shot Tiana Carruthers, 25, in the parking lot of the Meadows town home complex, injuring her, he went on to kill six more people. The first two victims killed were Rich Smith, 53, and his son, Tyler Smith, 17, of Mattawan. They were gunned down in the parking lot of Seelye Kia on Stadium Drive just after 10 p.m.
Laurie Smith, the wife of Richard Smith and mother of Tyler Smith, read a victim impact statement at Dalton’s sentencing, saying she lost her soul mate and baby boy at the same time, according to MLive.
“You have children and you have a spouse, so why did you decide to take mine away from me?” Smith said.
Smith described her husband as a loving, caring, and thoughtful person who would do anything for anyone. Her son was a friend to everyone, including her, she said.
“I hope you realize what you’ve done to all of the victims, to my family, to your kids, to your family, your parents, and to the community as a whole,” Smith said. “I hope it haunts you and I hope you experience deep sorrow to your soul for the rest of your life.”
Smith’s daughter, Emily Lemmer, also took the stand. She said she was supposed to grow up with her brother, and said living without both her dad and her brother is impossible. The shooting caused her anxiety and a sense of terror as she fears she will lose more people she loves, the publication reported.
“What kind of a person walks up to a father and son and shoots them over and over and over again until they don’t move?” Lemmer said. “A coward, that’s who.”
Richard Smith worked as a journeyman pipe fitter for more than three decades, according to his obituary. Most of his career was spent at Pfizer. He worked as a construction manager for Jacobs Field Services North America for the last four years of his life. Richard and Laurie were married in 1992. His family wrote in the obituary he was their rock.
He and his son, Tyler, shared a love of cars. Tyler was known as “T” to his friends, according to MLive. He was a senior at Mattawan High School and attended Van Buren Technology Center for marketing entrepreneurship. Tyler was a passionate soccer player with a “huge heart, infectious laugh and was a friend to everyone,” his obituary said.
Four Women: Dorothy ‘Judy’ Brown, Mary Lou Nye, Mary Jo Nye & Barbara Hawthorne Were Killed Outside Cracker Barrel
In the second phase of Jason Brian Dalton’s deadly rampage, he killed four women outside a Cracker Barrel and seriously injured a teenager. The victims were Dorothy “Judy” Brown, 74, Mary Lou Nye, 62, Mary Jo Nye, 60, and Barbara Hawthorne, 68, all of Battle Creek. He also shot 14-year-old Abigail Kopf, who was critically injured, but survived.
Jeff Reynolds, Brown’s son, read a victim impact statement at Dalton’s sentencing, according to MLive.
“I am a man of faith, and I trust that the almighty God will haunt you eternally starting now with the fact that you are nothing but a pile of worthless evil. Worthless,” Reynolds told Dalton.
Mary Jo Nye was a retired English teacher who had been “a motherly figure” to at-risk students at her alternative high school, according to CBS.
“She was an English teacher, but she was a lot more than that to the students who don’t come from great home lives,” said Tara Egnatuk, assistant director of the Calhoun Community High School where Nye worked, CBS reported.
Mary Lou Nye was driving a vehicle in the parking lot with the other women and teenage girl as passengers. She was Mary Jo Nye’s sister in law.
Hawthorne was Kopf’s grandmother. She had retired in 2008 after working 22 years at the Kellogg Company, according to CBS.
Brown’s neighbor told CBS she was known for stopping by to share fresh herbs she grew in her garden.
Mary Lou Nye worked part time at a Lutheran preschool and childcare program, according to CBS.
Reynolds said in his victim impact statement that none of them will ever be free of the pain Dalton caused, according to MLive.
“I, and all of the individuals and families whose lives you have shattered, are at least pleased to know you will never walk free again,” Reynolds said. “We will never have a day where we can walk free of the devastating loss you have needlessly caused.”