Friday, July 8, 2011

"... to even imagine that it could happen here."

Deranged Maniac Murders Women And Children In Grand Rapids
Re-printed from a story at WXMI Channel 17 on July 8th 2011


Two bystanders were killed and more wounded during one phase of a violent felon's fatal shooting rampage.

GRAND RAPIDS — A press conference was held Friday to recap the events of Thursday's mass murder committed by 34-year old Rodrick Dantzler.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell opened the press conference with a somber remark saying: "The events of yesterday have shaken our community to it's roots, and they test our will under fire. What happened on the streets and neighborhoods is so uncharacteristic that it boggles the mind to even imagine that it could happen here."

After all was said and done 7 people are dead, 2 of them children, 2 innocent bystanders were injured, and 3 hostages were held.

"Our police were courageous, they showed professionalism, this community has shown its faith in our police department...Area law enforcement from all over joined to support Grand Rapids including Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff's Department, ATF, U.S. Marshal officers, and dozens of neighboring police forces." Heartwell added. "We may have been shaken to our roots, but our roots are deep, our faith strong, and our commitment to our homes are unshakable, today we show why we are a great community."

Police Chief Kevin Belk took the podium shortly after, he identified several victims in the mass murder.

Jennifer Marie Heeren, 29, an ex-girlfriend of Dantzler, Rodrick Dantzler's daughter, Kamrie Deann Heeren-Dantzler, 12, Rebecca Lynn Heeren, 52, Jennifer's Mother, Thomas Heeren, 51, Jennifer's Father, Kimberlee Ann Emkens, 23, an ex-girlfriend of Dantzler, Amanda Renee Emkens 27, Kim's sister, Marissa Lynn Emkens, 10, daughter of Amanda.

Negotiators worked with Dantzler for hours, eventually police were able to get the hostages released safely.

"Unfortunately Mr. Dantzler put the firearm up to his head and took his own life," Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk said.

The incident effectively ended when Dantzler died sometime after 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

Rodrick DantzlerPolice still are working on finding out the history of the 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun Dantzler used, he had a large amount of ammunition and several magazines.

Chief Belk added, "I don't think there's any question in my mind that this was premeditated he went hunting these people down, this was very much a purposeful act. Several of the victims haven't even had contact with him in some time."

Dantzler managed to call a friend and had an acquaintance pick him up in a white suburban. This is the vehicle that ended up crashing on I-96.

A press conference earlier on Thursday confirmed seven people are dead in incidents that occurred Thursday afternoon, which led to a hostage situation in northeast Grand Rapids.

The suspect, believed to be 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler, was talking with negotiators for hours who were working to free the hostages.

Police set up a perimeter around a house in the 3200-block of Rickman Avenue as they tried to negotiate the hostage situation.

One hostage, a male, was released, two remained inside until the end.

One hostage is identified only as a female. Details are still sketchy at time of report.

Three adult women, and one adult male were found dead at an address in the 1200-block of Brynell Court Northeast earlier Thursday afternoon. At another scene in the 2000-block of Plainfield Northeast, near Knapp, police discovered an additional two women and one young girl, all dead, around the same time.

Another man was shot in on Grandville Avenue, but was not killed.

Police identified the suspect in all of the incidents, 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler. Dantzler remained at large, driving a cream-colored Lincoln Towncar with the plates BWK2308.

Dantzler has previous felonies that include felony burglary and vehicle theft in Walker from 1992, felony damage to property in 1997, and felony assault with intent to do great bodily harm in 2000. His most recent charge is a misdemeanor for assault, from February of 2010.

The Grand Rapids Police Department first responded to a possible shooting on Janes Avenue near Monroe Avenue Northwest and Knapp Street Northwest in Grand Rapids.

Police were blocking Knapp Street from Center Avenue to Monroe Avenue Northwest for about an hour, with a heavy police presence around a house on Janes Avenue. Shortly after, police surrounded a house on Brynell Street Northeast with SWAT personnel.

References:
WXMI Channel 17, Grand Rapids Shooting Suspect Killed Himself, Victims Names Released
KWCH, Police Close Knapp Street