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Grand Rapids shooting suspect commits suicide, hostages safe

Armed police stand guard after closing I-96 in Grand Rapids following a chase through downtown.
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Armed police stand guard after closing I-96 in Grand Rapids following a chase through downtown.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk says the man suspected in seven Michigan shooting deaths has killed
himself and two hostages he was holding are safe.

Belk said 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler fatally shot himself inside a Grand Rapids home where here had been holding the hostages Thursday night.

 Dantzler had released a 53-year-old female hostage unharmed earlier in the evening. Two other hostages had remained in the home.

A manhunt for Dantzler began after four people were found dead in one Grand Rapids home and three were found in another across town. Belk says the dead included two children.

Chief Belk also indicated one of the victims was mass murder suspect Rodrick Dantzler's daughter, another was an ex-girlfriend. Other victims' relationships were not immediately confirmed. 

The frantic search included a high-speed chase through downtown Grand Rapids during which Belk says the suspect shot two other people. They did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Police were in the process of negotiating a surrender when they heard a gunshot and rushed into a bedroom where Dantzler and two hostages were located. They found Dantzler fatally injured on the floor.

Governor Rick Snyder issued the following statement regarding the shootings in Grand Rapids that claimed several lives:

"My sincere condolences and deepest sympathies go out to the families who lost loved ones today in a senseless, tragic wave of violence. I commend the brave men and women serving as law enforcement officers, first responders and emergency personnel who have worked tirelessly to protect citizens and bring an end to this tragedy. The entire state of Michigan stands with the City of Grand Rapids and remains committed to helping the victims, families and community through this difficult time.”

Vincent Duffy has been news director at Michigan Public since May 2007.
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