Lansing firefighter Dennis Rodeman died doing a good deed. Police say the 35-year-old was killed Wednesday during an incident in which he was hit by a vehicle and the driver fled. Officials say the incident was deliberate. Rodeman was collecting donations by the side of the road for a muscular dystrophy research charity on Wednesday when he was intentionally struck by a man driving a pickup truck, Detroit Free Press wrote. Rodeman later died at the hospital from wounds he sustained in the incident. Grant Taylor, 22, was charged with murder on Thursday in connection with Rodeman’s death.
The Lansing firefighter’s tragic death came as a shock to many and Lansing Mayor Birg Bernero condemned the incident, calling it “a senseless, unthinkable tragedy.” At a press conference, Bernero gave the following statement.
“This is a shocking and unthinkable tragedy. … Dennis was cut down in an instant, doing what he loved, what he believed in, what he believed in most: helping other people.”
It is thought that the suspect and Rodeman previously had an argument.
“The suspect came by, was upset for whatever reason (and) circled back around before striking Rodeman with his vehicle,” Lansing Police Department Cpt. Jim Kraus said. Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Stuart Dunnings III said the case remains under investigation, but there is enough evidence to charge Taylor with murder.
“The Lansing police patrol and investigation units are to be commended for their prompt response, and thorough investigation, of this tragic event,” Dunnings said. “The police also received critical assistance from members of the public. As always, first responders rely on an active and engaged citizenry, and Lansing stepped up to the plate in the investigation of this tragic loss.”
After Taylor fled the scene, two other drivers chased the attacker and managed to write down his license plate number. When police caught up to him, the suspect then fled his vehicle and was pursued by police on foot, after which he was arrested. According to People magazine, Taylor was charged with murder, third degree fleeing and eluding, and failing to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident causing death.
Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro said Rodeman had only been married for two months and his wife was pregnant with their first child. He was a seven-year veteran of the fire department and had previously spent time in Iraq as part of the Marines.
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