KALAMAZOO, Mich., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The accused gunman in a series of deadly attacks in Kalamazoo, Mich., over the weekend was charged with six counts of murder Monday, officials said.
Jason Dalton, who was arrested by police just hours after Saturday's apparently random attacks, is accused of fatally shooting six people and seriously injuring two others.
Dalton was appeared nearly emotionless in a Kalamazoo County courtroom as District Judge Christopher T. Haenicke read off the 16 criminal charges filed against him, including murder, assault and weapons violations.
"Dalton ultimately told detectives under Miranda that he took people's lives [Saturday]," Kalamazoo Public Safety Detective Cory Ghiringhelli testified at a court hearing, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
The suspect told Haenicke, "I would prefer just to remain silent," when asked if he had anything to say. Dalton was being held without bail.
Police arrested Dalton Saturday night and booked him into Kalamazoo County Jail on Sunday. He allegedly committed the killings while driving for the app-based rideshare service Uber.
He had only been with the company since Jan. 25, but passed his security check, Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan said.
A man who was a passenger in Dalton's car prior to the incidents, Matt Mellen, told WWMT-TV, Kalamazoo, about his harrowing ride.
"He introduced himself with a different name," he said. "We were driving through medians, driving through the lawn, speeding along and when we came to a stop, I jumped out the car and ran away."
Mellen said he notified police.
After the shootings, a man named Derek said he, his wife and his in-laws also caught a ride from Dalton. Visiting Kalamazoo from Indianapolis, Derek said they chose to take the 1.5 mile trip by car, instead of walking from a restaurant to a nearby hotel, because they had heard about the shootings and didn't want to be in the open.
After getting in the car, Derek said he jokingly asked Dalton if he was the shooter -- and the driver responded only that he was tired.
Derek later stated that there was no smell of gunpowder and no visible stains or weapons in the vehicle and that Dalton appeared to be calm.
After they arrived safely at the hotel moments later, Derek said Dalton drove away -- clearly aware of a police presence nearby. Dalton was arrested about 20 minutes later.
Dalton did not resist arrest when police found him, officials said. A search of his vehicle allegedly turned up a semiautomatic handgun.
"On Saturday, another one of our communities was terrorized by gun violence," President Barack Obama told the winter meeting of the National Governor's Association at the White House on Monday. "Their local officials and first responders, by the way, did an outstanding job in apprehending the individual very quickly."
Obama added that he called Kalamazoo's mayor, sheriff and police chief to offer federal assistance.
"You got families who are shattered," his statement continued. "Earlier this year, I took some steps that will make it harder for dangerous people like this individual to buy a gun but clearly we're going to have to do more if we we're going to keep innocent Americans safe.
"I got to assume that all of you are just as tired as I am in seeing this stuff happen in your states, so that's an area where we also need to partner and think about what we can do in a common-sense and bipartisan way without some of the ideological rhetoric that so often surrounds that issue."
Dalton's family released an unsigned statement through the county attorney's office that read in part: "This type of violence has no place in our society, and we express our love and support for everyone involved," the statement said. "We intend to cooperate in every way that we can to help determine why and how this occurred."
Dalton's next scheduled court appearance is March 3.