Family and Friends Remember Six Kalamazoo Fatal Shooting Victims
On Monday, the alleged shooter was charged with six counts of murder
On Saturday evening, six people were shot dead and two were injured in Kalamazoo, Michigan, allegedly by an Uber driver in what authorities called totally unprovoked, random acts of violence.
On Monday, the alleged shooter, 45-year-old Jason Dalton, was charged with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight firearms charges, PEOPLE confirms. He was denied bail at his arraignment on Monday.
The following is a list of the six fatal victims.
Richard Smith, 53
Richard Smith and his teenaged son were killed around 10:00 p.m after looking at Seelye Automotive car dealership vehicles, reports the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Smith’s wife, Laurie Smith, informed her friends and family of the devastating loss in a Facebook post:
“My love my soulmate my best friend I cannot believe you are gone no matter what ‘Forever’s as Far as I’ll go.'” She writes.
Tyler Smith, 17
Tyler Smith, was a senior at Mattawan High School and a gifted soccer player. He was shot with his father at the car dealership.
Dr. Robin Buchler, Superintendent of the Mattawan Consolidated School District, described the popular teenager as “a really nice guy.”
“[Smith] always had a smile on his face, always happy,” she tells PEOPLE. “He was well liked by the student body.”
The teen was enrolled in a specialized marketing program at school and was very goal-oriented.
“He was interested in his future, you could just tell by the choices of classes that he took,” Dr. Buchler says. “He was putting the pieces together for his secondary education.”
In an emotional Facebook tribute post, Tyler’s mother, Laurie Smith, says she is “grateful to have been blessed with a sweet, caring, witty, handsome boy for almost 18 years … so proud of who he had become as a young man. I miss you, bud and love you more than life itself.”
Mary Lou Nye, 62
Mary Lou Nye of Baroda, Michigan, and Mary Jo Nye, 60, of Battle Creek, Michigan, were sisters-in-law and best friends for years, reports the Kalamazoo Gazette.
The women had been roommates at Western Michigan University, and Mary Lou ended up marrying one of Mary Jo’s older brothers. The couple was together for 40 years before Mary Lou was killed.
Mary Lou’s son, Bart Nye, says the best friends shared a strong bond and often went out together on the weekends. They were returning to the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel after seeing a show when they were killed.
“They caught a show at Miller [Auditorium] and they were going back to the Cracker Barrel. They had dinner before the show and were going back for one of the cars,” Bart Nye told the Kalamazoo Gazette. (Four fatal victims were shot in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel; also shot was 14-year-old Abigail Kopf, who is clinging to life in a Michigan hospital.
Mary Lou worked at a day care center and had previously managed the South Haven branch of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office until it closed, reports CNN.
Mary Jo Nye, 60
Mary Jo Nye, a former Calhoun Community High School teacher, truly cared about her students and her school: Four years after retirement, she continued to attend graduation.
“She became like a mother to a lot of kids,” Calhoun Community High School, Tara Egnatuk, told The Lansing Journal.
Bart Nye says Mary Jo was engaged to be married and her passions included sewing and quilting.
Funeral arrangements have not been made for Mary Jo and Mary Lou, but it is likely the friends will have a combined service.
Dorothy Brown, 74
A mother of two grown sons, Dorothy Brown was “a sweet, sweet old lady,” according to a next-door neighbor.
“You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor,” Daniel Arnold told the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Another neighbor, Jeff West, described Brown as “super nice and friendly,” to the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Brown lived alone with two cats and was often seen tending to the vegetables she grew in her front yard.
Her body was found in the rear seat of Mary Jo Nye’s car, reports the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Barbara Hawthorne, 68
Barbara Hawthorne, of Battle Creek, Michigan, retired in 2008 after working for Kellogg Co. for 22 years.
“We are deeply saddened by these tragic events and brokenhearted to learn that one of the victims … belonged to our Kellogg family,” the company said in a statement.
According to police, she was also found in the backseat of Mary Jo Nye’s car.