Grand Rapids, Mich., police chief Kevin Belk says Rodrick Dantzler, 34, the suspect in a horrific killing spree that has left seven people dead, including five women, one man, and his 12-year-old daughter, killed himself in the standoff with police.
Authorities identified the dead as: daughter Kamrie Deann Heeren-Dantzler; 29-year-old Jennifer Marie Heeren, an ex-girlfriend and Kamrie’s mother; 52-year-old Rebecca Lynn Heeren, Jennifer Heeren’s mother; 51-year-old Thomas Heeren, her father; 23-year-old Kimberlee Ann Emkens, a woman Dantzler had previously dated; 27-year-old Amanda Renee Emkens, Kimberlee Emkens’ sister; and 10-year-old Marissa Lynn Emkens, Amanda Emkens’ daughter.
A domestic dispute reportedly triggered the shootings that took place in multiple residences; police say Dantzler targeted two former girlfriends in Thursday’s rampage, killing them and their five family members.
A neighbor told reporters that she believed Dantzler was married to the victim at the first residence, and that it appeared that the 12-year-old was his daughter; according to authorities, the violence started from a “domestic issue” between the suspect and one of the adult females murdered at the second residence.
The Grand Rapids press ran live coverage as the Dantzler led police on a high speed chase with a hostage, and forced his way into an apartment off Interstate 96. The Grand Rapids press said the spree had the highest body count in the city’s history. A friend of Dantzler’s told CBS News that Dantzler had a dispute with his current girlfriend earlier in the day and reportedly said he would “kill them all.”
Dantzler’s mother had filed an order of protection against him years prior, stating that she feared for her life, and just wanted her son to “leave her alone.”
Dr. Carl Bell, Leading Violence Expert, Tips on Preventing Violence
This unfolding nightmare recalls a revealing interview that I conducted with Dr. Carl C. Bell. In our talk, he shared his time-tested formula for curbing the violent tendencies in black youths. These are his seven points for preventing violence.
1. Rebuild the “village,” and the sense of community. “Establish programs that provide support, safety and security for our youth.”
2. Provide access to mentoring programs to cultivate and facilitate wellness and education.
3. Provide a sense of connectedness; relationships and that sense of belonging provide feelings of security and reinforce cultural identity.
4. Provide opportunities to learn social and emotional skills such as parenting skills and negotiating a crisis.
5. Increase self-esteem by showing children that they can learn to do positive things for themselves.
6. Provide models to help our young make sense of the world and teach them how things work. (Mentoring; implementing a strong value system).
7. Create a sense of specialness and uniqueness (cultural pride) as an individual or group.
8. Encourage bonding to cultural and spirituality.
9. Provide an adult protective shield, that is, mentoring, discipline, and a caring adult presence to make children feel secure.
10. Minimize trauma through spirituality, independence, creating a sense of safety, connectedness, and stress management skills.
For more information about Dr. Carl C. Bell, visit the Community Mental Health Council here.