Bishop Paul J. Bradley of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich. offered his prayers and condolences for the victims of a shooting spree in the city that left six dead and at least two seriously injured Saturday evening.
“We are shocked and saddened by the horrific acts of violence in our beloved Kalamazoo last evening,” Bishop Bradley said in a statement posted to the diocese’s website on Sunday.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the six innocent people whose lives in this world were so mercilessly ended. May they live forever with God in the life of the world to come.”
Picking targets seemingly at random, 45-year-old Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton allegedly went on an hours-long rampage Saturday evening, reportedly opening fire on a woman outside an apartment complex, a father and son looking at cars at an auto dealership, and a group of women parked at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
In between shootings, Dalton reportedly picked up Uber customers and collected fare.
Dalton was taken into custody around 12:40 a.m. after his Chevrolet HHR was spotted on a surveillance camera leaving a bar parking lot, authorities said. Police found a semi-automatic handgun during the arrest, and shell casings at each of the shooting scenes match the weapon.
In his statement, Bishop Bradley said: “We also pray for the perpetrator; may God show him mercy and change his heart. We commend the courage and dedication of our first responders for their commitment to keeping our community safe.”
The woman at the apartment complex and a 14-year-old girl in one of the parked cars are the known seriously injured victims. The woman is expected to survive. The girl was pronounced dead on the scene, but an hour later was able to respond to questions by squeezing her mother’s hand and is now listed as being in critical condition.
The motive for the shootings is unknown. Dalton has no prior criminal record and passed a background check when he was hired to be an Uber driver.
Police have said they believe Dalton acted alone and they do not think the shootings were an act of terrorism under federal law, which classifies terrorism as a violent or dangerous crime that appears to be intended to either (1) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (2) influence government policy by intimidation or coercion; or (3) affect government conduct by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping.
At the end of his statement, Bishop Bradley offered prayers for “an end to all forms of violence.”
“May this Lenten season be a time for all of us to turn away from sin and be freed from the strong hold of evil’s influence so that we can live together in security and peace,” he said.
The Diocese of Kalamazoo held a Mass on Monday at noon at the St. Augustine Cathedral “to pray for the victims, the injured and traumatized, and for an end to violence.”
“May all those impacted by this senseless tragedy be comforted by the love of our united prayers.”