The episode titled ‘The Deadly Ride’ of ’20/20′ explores the inexplicable and unexpected shooting rampage that Uber driver Jason Dalton went on in February 2016, terrorizing the citizens of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The killer left the death and injury of numerous locals in the wake of his killing spree, which is documented in the episode that also features interviews with the survivors, reporters, relatives, and law enforcement officials who were involved in the horrific case and had encounters with the perpetrator.
Who is Jason Dalton?
Born on June 22, 1970, Jason Brian Dalton grew up in Greenfield, Indiana, and did his schooling at Comstock High School in Kalamazoo. After graduating in 1989, he took up an associate degree in law enforcement from Kalamazoo Valley Community College and graduated in December 1992. Three years later, in 1995, Dalton decided to settle down and married Carole to start a family of his own. Giving birth to two children, the couple led an idyllic life in a neighborhood near Cooper Township.
As per the claims of one of Dalton’s old friends, Dalton gave a few shots to get into the law enforcement field in Michigan and nearby states, but when he couldn’t get in, he studied auto-body work at WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming. After completing the course, he landed a job at a BMW office in New Jersey, which opened up several paths for him, as a mechanic and an insurance adjuster. Generally known to be a nice guy and a family man who is always good with people, Dalton appeared to have been struggling with mental health issues, as per neighbors’ claims, just a few days before he snapped.
A couple of weeks before the shooting, Dalton passed Uber’s background checks and began working as a driver for the company. On February 20, 2016, he reportedly went to three different gun stores along with a friend and purchased a black jacket to hide a handgun at one of them. Starting his Uber shift late in the afternoon with Matt Mellen as his passenger, Dalton displayed signs of the things to follow by driving erratically, which led to Mellen escaping and alerting the police about the same. Things only got worse from there as he went on a shooting spree, starting at an apartment complex in Richland Township, where he fired multiple rounds at Tiana Carruthers. Fortunately, she managed to survive as well as protect her daughter and other children from any harm.
Then, Dalton drove to the Seelye Kia car dealership at 4102 Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo and killed Richard and Tyler Smith. His next stop was the Cracker Barrel parking lot at 5581 Cracker Barrel Boulevard, where he took the lives of Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, Dorothy Brown, and Barbara Hawthorne, and severely injured a teenager named Abigail Kopf. In total, Dalton was responsible for the death of six people and the critical injury of two people. After the killings, he reportedly accepted several fares and dropped passengers at their destinations without causing any harm to them. Meanwhile, the police were on the lookout for the perpetrator.
Finally, after midnight, the authorities spotted Dalton and pulled him out of his vehicle to find that he was wearing the jacket he had bought earlier that day, as well as a bulletproof vest. When they found a handgun on his waistband, he was arrested on the spot on suspicion of being responsible for killing six people and injuring two. Soon after his arrest, he confessed to the killings but blamed it all on the Uber mobile application, claiming that it all began when he saw the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star, after which he lost control over his body. According to the police, none of the victims were connected, and a total of at least 30 rounds were shot during the massacre by the culprit, Jason Dalton.
Where is Jason Dalton Now?
After the constant delays due to the psychiatric evaluation of the perpetrator, Jason Dalton’s trial finally got underway on January 7, 2019, with him pleading guilty to every single criminal count to his name — six counts of first-degree premeditated murder and two counts of assault with the intent to commit murder. Almost a month later, on February 5, 2019, the 48-year-old perpetrator was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. At present, Jason Brian Dalton is serving his time behind bars at Oaks Correctional Facility at 1500 Caberfae Highway in Manistee.