GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — When Rodrick Shonte Dantzler raised a gun to his head after going on a deadly shooting rampage, the bullet ended what those close to him described as a troubled life in which he frequently resorted to violence and often made threats against women and relatives.
Police say the 34-year-old ex-con targeted two former girlfriends in Thursday's rampage, fatally shooting both of them and five members of their families, including his own 12-year-old daughter. He also shot and wounded two other people — one of them another ex-girlfriend — while leading officers on a chase through Grand Rapids, Michigan's second-largest city.
"He went out hunting these people down. It was very much a purposeful act," police Chief Kevin Belk said Friday, describing Dantzler as mentally unstable but saying he knew of no clinical diagnosis or motive for the killings.
Dantzler's rap sheet goes back to 1992, when he was charged as a juvenile with breaking and entering and car theft. That was followed over the next eight years by charges of trespassing, domestic violence, destruction of property, larceny and assault.
Dantzler's mother, who said her son set fire to her house when he was 18, was among four women who sought protective orders against him in the mid to late 1990s.
"Rodrick has a very explosive temper and will act violently without thinking," Victoria Dantzler wrote in the petition filed in Kent County Circuit Court.
On Thursday, Dantzler was armed with a .40-caliber handgun and plenty of ammunition, the police chief said. Investigators did not know where he obtained the gun. As a felon, he would have been forbidden from legally owning the weapon.
Authorities identified the dead as: daughter Kamrie Heeren-Dantzler; Jennifer Heeren, 29, an ex-girlfriend and Kamrie's mother; Rebecca Heeren, 52, Jennifer Heeren's mother; Thomas Heeren, 51, her father; Kimberlee Emkens, 23, a woman Dantzler had dated; Amanda Renee Emkens, 27, Kimberlee Emkens' sister; and Marissa Emkens, 10, Amanda Emkens' daughter.