Jason Dalton’s video arraignment on murder charges following a Kalamazoo shooting spree February 20.WXYZ-TV Detroit
An Uber driver accused of killing six and wounding two others during a February 20 carnage spree is said to have told Michigan investigators that the Uber app on his phone made him do it.
The app, he said, controlled his “mind and body” and told him where to go and when to kill the day he is accused of carrying out the Kalamazoo County murders.
The Detroit Free Press, citing police records it obtained, said the 45-year-old suspect, Jason Dalton, told the authorities that a symbol resembling the devil’s head popped up on the ride-sharing app when he opened it last month on the night of the murders.
“Dalton described the devil figure as a horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body,” according to police reports released Monday to the Free Press by the Kalamazoo City Attorney’s Office.
Dalton told police he experienced “a full body takeover” during the shooting spree and expressed concern about being placed in the general population at the jail because of what he did.
“I asked Dalton what made him get his gun tonight and he said the Uber app made him,” an investigator said in the reports.
The driver, who is being detained, was said to have told investigators that the Uber app “would take you over to the point that you are like a puppet.” He told investigators he was afraid that he could have killed his own family.
Dalton is accused of six counts of murder and two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and related firearms charges. He faces a lifetime behind bars if convicted. He shot eight people at three locations in a single evening.
Here is the Detroit Free Press’ accounting of the dead and injured.
Tiana Carruthers, 25, was the first victim, shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex, the Meadows Township in Richland Township.
Richard Smith, 53, and his 17-year-old son, Tyler of Mattawan were killed while they looked at cars at Seeley Kia of Kalamazoo.
Then five people were shot, four of them fatally, in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel in Texas Township just west of Kalamazoo.
Three of the women killed, Mary Jo Nye, 60, Barbara Hawthorn, 68, and Judy Brown, 74, were from Battle Creek. Mary Nye, 62, of Baroda, Mary Jo Nye’s sister-in-law, also was shot and killed.
A 14-year-old girl, Abigail Kopf, was shot once in the head and remains in fair condition at Bronson Methodist Hospital.
A local judge has ordered a mental examination of the defendant. Michigan does not have the death penalty.