Kalamazoo shooting suspect dragged out of court during victim’s testimony

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – The preliminary hearing for Kalamazoo shooting suspect Jason Dalton has been delayed after he was dragged out of the courtroom.

Dalton appeared to make a sudden movement during testimony by shooting survivor Tiana Carruthers, causing her to scream. Moments before that, Dalton interrupted Carruthers, rambling about black plastic bags. Carruthers began sobbing on the witness stand at the sound of Dalton’s voice.

Dalton was led into the courtroom around 9:45 a.m. Friday with chains wrapped around his midsection and handcuffs around his wrists. He appeared to be shaking his head and talking to himself as he was seated for the hearing.

Friends and families of the victims were in the courtroom Friday.  Loved ones of Rich and Tyler Smith wore “Smith strong” shirts as they filed into the room. The emotions were written all over their faces. Many wiped away tears during the proceeding.

Carruthers was the first to testify. With the help of a cane, she walked into the courtroom.

READ MORE: The Kalamazoo shootings

Carruthers told the judge she was with her child and four other children walking to the park outside her apartment when a man in a silver SUV cut them off, almost hitting them. The 25-year-old mother said the encounter seemed unusual from the start.

“It’s a really quiet neighborhood… and I had never seen him before,” she said before Dalton interrupted her.

A judge ordered a recess.  Dalton isn’t expected to return to court for the rest of the hearing.  Instead, court officials are working on setting up a feed so he can watch the proceedings from another room.

Dalton faces 16 criminal counts in connection to the Feb. 20 shooting that killed Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, Judy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne and father and son Rich and Tyler Smith.

Dalton is also charged with shooting 14-year-old Abbie Kopf and Carruthers multiple times. Both are still recovering.

After he was arrested, Dalton allegedly told detectives that he felt the Uber app on his phone had robbed him of sleep, manifested a “devil” that took over his body, and sounded to indicate who he should kill or not kill.

In April, Dalton was found competent to stand trial. Although the judge ruled Dalton fit to stand trial, defense lawyers can still enter a not guilty by reason of insanity plea for Dalton.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s