KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Shock is once again spreading through eastern Hancock County as another former resident has been tied to a violent crime.
Jason Dalton, the man accused of going on a seven-hour shooting rampage in western Michigan that left six people dead and two people injured Saturday, grew up in Charlottesville and was a student in Eastern Hancock Schools, school officials confirmed.
The 45-year-old suspect attended Eastern Hancock middle school and high school in the 1980s, Principal Dave Pfaff confirmed. Dalton left Hancock County in 1986 prior to his sophomore year.
Dalton was charged Monday afternoon with six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, according to The Associated Press.
Police said Dalton, a driver for the Uber ride-hailing app, opened fire outside an apartment complex, a car dealership and a restaurant in Kalamazoo; it appeared he chose his victims at random.
Authorities have not released details about what motivated Dalton to target victims with no apparent connection to him or to each other in the Saturday night shootings.
Pfaff, who was a teacher and coach at Eastern Hancock when Dalton attended the school, said in a statement to the Daily Reporter that he remembers the suspect as an average student and promising athlete.
Pfaff said Dalton came from a good family, and he never seemed to be a troublemaker.
Records show Dalton has no adult or juvenile criminal history in Hancock County, Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.
Dalton’s name surfaced in at least two local police reports in the past 18 months; both involved minor domestic disputes, and no arrests were made, Eaton said.
Eaton did not have details about those incidents and said he could not confirm whether Dalton was living in Hancock County at the time or was here visiting family.
This is the second Eastern Hancock alumni to be tied to a violent crime this month.
Rebecca Lawson, formerly of Shirley and a 2008 graduate of Eastern Hancock High School who now lives in Indianapolis, was arrested Feb. 12 after she admitted to shooting two people in Marion County, killing one man and leaving a woman seriously injured, police said.
Lawson was charged with murder and attempted murder, court records show.
Michigan police say Dalton had no major run-ins with authorities there until his arrest early Sunday following the rampage.
Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas told The Associated Press the shootings began about 6 p.m. Saturday outside the Meadows apartment complex on the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County, where a woman was shot multiple times. She is expected to survive.
A little more than four hours later and 15 miles away, a father and his 17-year-old son were fatally shot while looking at cars at a car dealership.
Fifteen minutes after that, five people were gunned down in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, Matyas said. Four of them died.
Dalton was arrested about 12:40 a.m. Sunday after a deputy spotted a vehicle driving through downtown Kalamazoo that matched a description of the shooter’s car, authorities said. Police found a semi-automatic handgun in Dalton’s car.
The four people killed outside the restaurant have been identified as 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye of Baroda, and 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye, 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne and 74-year-old Dorothy Brown, all of Battle Creek.
The two victims killed at the car dealership were identified as Tyler Smith and his father, Richard, who was 53.
A 14-year-old girl wounded at the restaurant remained hospitalized in critical condition at press time.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.