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Michigan shootings: seven dead in Kalamazoo after 'random' attacks


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Police say a ‘strong suspect’ is in custody after overnight manhunt for attacker who is believed to have targeted victims at random



Ryan Felton in Detroit


Sunday 21 February 2016 08.43 GMT




A man has been arrested in Michigan after the “random” killing of at least seven people, including a 14-year-old girl, who were shot at multiple locations around the county of Kalamazoo. Three other people were injured.


Police described “ugly” scenes after a man believed to be “a guy going around randomly killing innocent people” by a male, believed to be in his mid-40s, who remained at large for much of Saturday night.


The spree began at around 6pm (2300 GMT) on Saturday, when a woman was shot multiple times outside a housing complex in eastern Kalamazoo county, according to Undersheriff Paul Matyas. Police believe the woman was babysitting several children, who were unharmed in the incident. The victim was taken to a local hospital where she remains in serious condition.


Hours later, in two separate shootings believed to be connected to the earlier incident, the gunman then travelled into the city of Kalamazoo, roughly 140 miles west of Detroit, and fatally shot two people - believed to be a father and his son - outside a car dealership.


A female witness who observed the shooting in a nearby vehicle was unharmed, according to Jeff Hadley, chief of Kalamazoo public safety. She is currently being interviewed.


“These appear to be random acts of violence,” Hadley added.


Roughly 15 minutes later, police responded to a nearby restaurant, where the same gunman is believed to have shot and killed five others. Early reports indicated an eight-year-old child was among the dead at the restaurant, but Matyas said the victim was a 14-year-old female.


At 1.20am local time on Sunday Hadley said that a “strong suspect” - a 45-year-old white man - was arrested in connection with the shootings.


“That person is being brought back [to police headquarters] and we’re trying to get information out as quick as possible to calm people’s fears up there in the community,” Hadley told the Guardian.


“We’re fairly certain that he is the suspect but we’re still in the process of determining that 100%.” The suspect was arrested “without confrontation”, the police chief said, and one weapon was recovered from the vehicle.


Hadley said the suspect was apprehended around 12.40am in downtown Kalamazoo, driving a vehicle matching the description of a dark-colored Chevy HHR captured on CCTV at the auto dealership.


Multiple state agencies were involved in the investigation, including Michigan state police, the Kalamazoo department of public safety and Kalamazoo county sheriff’s office.


Matyas said law enforcement officials were still at the attack scenes, and described the investigation as very fluid”.


“It’s a very ugly scene – all of them,” he said. “All the agencies involved are mulling over it.”


He continued: “I’ve been 40 years involved in police work, and I’ve seen a lot of grizzly scenes, but this one is ugly in that, this is just a guy going around randomly killing innocent people. That’s what makes this one so ugly.”

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