Kalamazoo shooting suspect visited gun store hours before murders

PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — The owner of a gun shop in Plainwell said the Kalamazoo shooting suspect visited his store just hours before the shooting spree that killed six people and injured two others.

Jonathan Southwick, owner of Southwick’s, told 24 Hour News 8 in a phone interview that Jason Dalton was acting normal and joked around when he came in with a friend on Saturday. He talked about the nice weather and was smiling.

Surveillance picture of Jason Dalton at Southwick’s gun shop in Plainwell on Saturday. (Feb. 23, 2016)
Surveillance picture of Jason Dalton at Southwick’s gun shop in Plainwell on Saturday.

According to Southwick, Dalton’s friend was looking at long guns while Dalton went over to the clothing department. He said Dalton bought a 5.11 tactical jacket, which can conceal a small pistol.

Before he left, Dalton gave one of the managers a side hug.

The next morning when Southwick heard about the deadly shooting spree and one of his managers showed him Dalton’s mugshot, he went cold.

“I got goosebumps and I said ‘Holy crap I talked to him yesterday,’” said Southwick.

>>PHOTOS: Kalamazoo County shooting rampage

Southwick told 24 Hour News 8 that he had never sold a gun to Dalton.

He said Dalton came into the shop about once every month or two and he knew Dalton by face, but not by name.

Surveillance pictures of Jason Dalton at Southwick’s gun shop in Plainwell on Saturday. (Feb. 23, 2016)
Surveillance pictures of Jason Dalton at Southwick’s gun shop in Plainwell on Saturday.

Dalton was arraigned on Monday on 16 charges, including six counts of open murder. Police said he confessed to them that he took people’s lives, but has shown no remorse. Dalton was denied bond, he is scheduled to be back in court on March 3.

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