Who Were Jason Dalton’s Victims? How Many People Did He Kill?

On the evening of February 20, 2016, Jason Brian Dalton, a resident of Michigan and employed as an Uber driver, carried out a shooting spree that resulted in the death of six individuals and caused serious injuries to two others across three different locations. Dalton resided near Cooper Township with his wife, Carole, and their two children, aged 10 and 15, at the time of the incident. Despite being characterized as a good and nice guy by neighbors and associates, some noted that he exhibited paranoid and eccentric behavior in the days leading up to the violent rampage. The comprehensive account of Jason Brian Dalton’s crimes is revealed in ’20/20: The Deadly Ride.’

Dalton had visited three different gun stores with a friend hours before he began driving around and shooting at people. Although he had visited these stores before, Dalton had never purchased a firearm for himself. However, on this occasion, he acquired a jacket with pockets suitable for concealing a handgun. An hour before the shooting, he picked up an Uber ride, and the customer reported that he had started driving recklessly, prompting the passenger to request him to stop, and the latter called 911. Little did anyone know that this was just the beginning of what Dalton had in store.

Tiana Carruthers

Tiana Carruthers, the 25-year-old woman who was escorting her daughter and other children from the park, became a victim of Dalton’s shooting spree outside her apartment complex in the Meadow Townhomes parking lot around 5:45 p.m. Dalton approached her, inquiring if she was a person with a different name. Upon her denial, he turned the car around and opened fire at her. In a quick and brave response, Carruthers ordered the children to run, and she managed to protect herself by playing dead. Unfortunately, she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and had to undergo several surgeries, treatments, and rehabilitation to recover from the traumatic incident.

Richard and Tyler Smith

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Following the shooting involving Tiana Carruthers, it is reported that Dalton crashed into another vehicle and returned to see his wife. He then switched his car to a black Chevrolet HHR, which his wife drove, and withdrew money from an ATM at approximately 6:45 pm. After driving around for about half an hour, he returned home to change handguns and left the house around 7:30 pm. From then until 10 pm, he accepted and completed Uber rides without any incidents. At around 10 pm, he arrived at a Kia dealership.

Richard Smith, a 57-year-old pipefitter with over 30 years of service at Pfizer, arrived at the dealership with his son, Tyler Smith, 17, and Tyler’s girlfriend, Alexis Cornish. Tyler, a senior at Mattawan High School and also attending the Van Buren Technology Center for Marketing Entrepreneurship, along with Alexis and Richard, had visited the dealership to explore car options. According to Alexis, Dalton approached Tyler, inquiring about what they were looking at. Before they could respond, Dalton began shooting at them. Alexis managed to duck down in the back seat of the Range Rover they had arrived in with Richard and Tyler. After Dalton left, she used Tyler’s phone to call 911. Despite the arrival of first responders, Tyler and Richard were pronounced dead at the scene.

Mary Lou Nye

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Mary Lou Nye, a 62-year-old employee at Immanuel Lutheran Church’s Day Care Center in Bridgman, was at a Cracker Barrel restaurant with five other people. As they were leaving and reached the parking lot, Dalton approached her. Mary Lou was in the car with her sister-in-law, Mary Jo Nye, both riding together. Approximately 10 minutes after the Kia dealership shooting, Dalton asked one of them a question before opening fire, and Mary Lou lost her life at the scene.

Mary Jo Nye

Image Credit: Mary Jo Nye/Facebook

Mary Jo Nye, a 60-year-old retired teacher from Calhoun Community High School and former president of the Literacy Council of Calhoun County, was with her sister-in-law, Mary Lou Nye, in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel in Texas Township, when she was shot at by Dalton. Unfortunately, Mary Jo also lost her life at the scene of the incident.

Dorothy “Judy” Brown

Dorothy ‘Judy’ Brown, a 74-year-old who worked for Guardian Finance and Advocacy in Battle Creek and had served as a caseworker for Area Agency on Aging, was the third member of the group that had been dining at the Cracker Barrel. The mother of two children, Jeff and Rob Reynolds, Judy was with the Nye sisters when Dalton shot at them. She also lost her life alongside them.

Barbara Hawthorne

Image Credit: Barbara Hawthorne/Facebook

Barbara Hawthorne, a retired 68-year-old woman who had dedicated 22 years of her career to Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, was among those targeted by Dalton. Along with her friends, Barbara had also brought along 14-year-old Abigail Kopf, who was like a granddaughter to her, for dinner. Before the shooting, they had attended a Chinese acrobatic show in Kalamazoo. In a selfless act of bravery, when Dalton began shooting, Barbara pushed Abigail down to protect her. When the first responders arrived, Barbara provided them with information on how to contact Abigail’s mother before succumbing to her injuries.

Abigail Kopf

Image Credit: ABC News/YouTube

Abigail Kopf, the 14-year-old who had accompanied Barbara Hawthorne and her friends for the evening, endured a traumatic experience during Dalton’s shooting spree. First responders found her with a bullet wound to her head, and initially, they had almost given up on saving her, believing she might be brain dead. However, to their surprise, they observed signs of life, and Abigail underwent several surgeries. A metal plate had to be inserted into her skull, and she retains limited memory of the night of the shooting due to the trauma to her head. After the shootings, Dalton continued accepting Uber rides and driving passengers while warnings about a shooter being loose were already circulating.

At around 12:30 am, the police were able to trail him while he was dropping off three passengers. Dalton was arrested at 12:40 am during a traffic stop. His wife initiated divorce proceedings weeks after the shooting. He faced sixteen charges, including six counts of murder and two counts of assault with the intent to murder. After numerous delays in the proceedings, including psychiatric evaluations, his trial commenced on January 7, 2019. During the trial, he pleaded guilty to all the charges and was subsequently given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Currently, Dalton is incarcerated, serving his sentence at the Oaks Correctional Facility.

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