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Michigan Gunman Kills 7 During Rampage

Michigan Gunman Kills 7 During Rampage

A Grand Rapids police car that was both hit and fired upon sits in the corner of Division and Fulton after Roderick Dantzler led police on a high speed chase through downtown Grand Rapids. [Associated Press | Ryan M.L. Young]

Detroit Free Press via YellowBrix

July 08, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A pleasant Thursday afternoon turned deadly in Grand Rapids when a gunman killed seven people before fleeing through the city, taking three people hostage in a home for hours, then fatally shooting himself.

Around 11 p.m., the hostages were free after the suspect, 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler, shot himself in the head, Police Chief Kevin Belk said.

Belk said officers were in the house, talking to Dantzler, who had been threatening to shoot the two hostages who remained and had asked officers to shoot him — before suddenly committing suicide.

“It does not make sense,” Belk said shortly before midnight. “I don’t think you can make sense out of something like this.”


Rodrick Dantzler

The hostages — one, a 53-year-old woman, had been released earlier — were unharmed.

Earlier, the discovery of the bodies — four in one home and three in another across town — led police on a high-speed chase into downtown Grand Rapids and along I-96 in an attempt to capture the suspect.

City police, Kent County deputies and Michigan State Police in squad cars and a helicopter followed Dantzler, who caused a crash at Fulton and Division in downtown Grand Rapids.

As the chase began, Belk said, two other people were shot, but not fatally. Dantzler also repeatedly shot at police, Belk said, though no officers were hurt.

“It’s an awful situation,” Mayor George Heartwell said after the bodies were found.

At one point during the chase, the suspect crossed a wide grassy median on the interstate and drove the wrong way down the highway with more than a dozen squad cars in pursuit. Hours later, the highway remained closed.

Dantzler then reportedly ditched the Chevy Suburban he was driving and ran to a home in the 4200 block of Elmdale, near one of the crime scenes in the 1200 block of Brynell Court.

State Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said records show Dantzler was discharged from the Michigan Department of Corrections in 2005 after serving time for assault less than murder. He had not been under state supervision since then, Marlan said.

A motive remained unknown through it all, though Belk said Thursday night that Dantzler had a “prior relationship” with at least one person at each home where the victims were killed.

An autopsy would be conducted on Dantzler’s body today, Belk said.

The day of gunshots and hot pursuit turned parts of normally placid Grand Rapids into a wild place.

Sandra Powney, who lives across the street from one of the homes where the shootings happened, said she had seen Dantzler at the ranch house. She said a couple have lived there for more than 20 years with their two adult daughters.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 3 years ago

    wonderin' if anybody realizes why we have black people in this country. As history has recorded, the black chieftians sent their criminals to the new world to get rid of them. The Dutch brought them here and sold them to the rich whites as slaves. If you can find a history book from the 1800's, it is recorded in there. We,our historians, did not keep that part of history for us to read. WHY?? I should not have to tell you why that is. The real racist people, not whites, would be upset if that was still in our history books for all to read. If you dare to disagree with me, check it out for yourselves.

    Finally............ It is Said Publicly.
    I have never seen the white side explained better!
    Pat Buchanan had the guts to say it. It is about time.

    By Patrick J.. Buchanan
    Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America. Fair enough. But this time, it needs to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.... This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

    First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known. Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

    Second, No people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the '60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.
    Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks -- with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas -- to advance black applicants over white applicants.
    Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated their time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.
    We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?
    Barack talks about new 'ladders of opportunity' for blacks. Let him go to Altoona, and Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for "deserving' white kids"...?

    Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America? Is it really white America's fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent?

    Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself?

    As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

    Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

    We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

    Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago. This needs to be passed around because, this is a message everyone needs to hear!!!

    OK............ will you pass it on ?

    YES. I did but will you?

    Because I'm for a better America.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    1. There are many in the South
    2. The pyramids of Egypt
    3. Because hateful people have been using the 'n' word so often that the rest of us have had enough.
    Individuals must be treated with respect and get the benefit of the doubt. If 10% of some demographic group are criminals, why treat the other 90% badly who are not? Innocent until proven guilty is one of the foundations of our society. God help us if we ever forget it.

  • 1979_max50


    about 3 years ago


    I see many posts were deleted and that is probably a good thing but fairpunishers hateful post was not deleted. Either delete his bigoted rant or leave our response up that we LEO's are calling him a bigot and not only do not agree with him but are repulsed by his bigotry. That is only fair as we cannot allow his statements to stand unchallenged.
    I am sure his rant was simply overlooked and I have no problem with this post being deleted as long as his bigoted post is also removed. I do not like or tolerate bigotry nor do my fellow LEOs.

  • Christmas_2010_038_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Catch and release, a deadly game. Good job Officers, you contained the threat by placing yourself between this killer and the community.

  • Bald-eagle-in-flight_860_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump robo.

  • Bald-eagle-in-flight_860_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Thanks bill. Bump 36TR and Dallas.

  • Pug_max600_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Taking the lives of seven innocent people on a rampage is pure evil. The restraint LE showed during the negotiations even after the suspect told police he wanted them to kill him. The negotiators were on the phone with the suspect when the suspect shot himself. A tragic and difficult situation. Prayers to all and the families of this tragedy. May they find God's Peace.

  • Quickley-b240_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Fairpunisher, have a seat in the bleachers for a while.

  • Xoxosmile_max50


    about 3 years ago


    I guess the man just snapped... Bless those souls that were robbed of their lives

  • Jack_bauer_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Fairpunisher is a troll, guess he has never heard of Baldwin Hills in LA, or of Dr. James E. West who invented the technology that 95% of microphones used in telephones in use today WORLDWIDE. What a damn fool for blaming an entire race for what this monster did to those innocent people.

  • Bald-eagle-in-flight_860_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Where's GTS with the black helos when we need him?

  • 1979_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Some people just need killing and this one is a perfect example. Too bad he wasn't killed before he killed all those other people and shot those others.

  • Work_max50


    about 3 years ago


    fairpunisher: Animals... all of them are animals! The only way to have animals living among people is to keep them in submission. As soon as one lets the leash loose, dowg WILL hurt you... When you people learn that?

    Wow are you seriously that retarded? There are bad people that come in every color! I really hope you arent in Law Enforcement, I see you dont have Access to the Restricted side so that is good, Your a TROLL with comments like that tryiing to insight arguments on this website go find some other place to be a douchbag.

    My Condolences to the Families of those that were victims of this tragedy.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. This dirtbag took the coward's way out. Glad all the LEO's went home safe.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 3 years ago


    GrayPanther, really? do i have to "dial it back a bit (lot)? Am I in the wrong? Have you been to Detroit or Flint recently? I don't "rant" - it's not my style, i usually try to stick with facts... and facts could be pretty inconvenient and politically incorrect. But sorry to disturb you ,"dude".

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