GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Roderick Shonte Dantzler, who killed seven people in a spree of domestic violence in Grand Rapids on Thursday before killing himself, had previously threatened to kill women with whom he had relationships, including his own mother and the mother of two of his children, court documents show.
Kent County, Mich., court records document dozens of contacts with authorities, including two felony convictions when he was a minor.
Dantzler eventually went to prison for three years in 2000, following a road rage incident in which he fired five shots at another driver. Dantzler’s behavior appeared to improve after his prison stint or at least led to fewer contacts with police. Even before he went to prison, he appeared to win affection, including from those with whom he had had a violent past.
His mother, Victoria Dantzler, who in 1995 had kicked her son, then 18, out of her home for abusive behavior, wrote in a request for a personal protection order that her son has a “very explosive temper and will act violently without thinking.” Five years later, she told a judge about to sentence her son for the road rage incident that her son “has never been a bully or the type of pe rson to just start a confrontation.”
Her plea for leniency was among a dozen in his court file, including one from the family’s pastor, who said Dantzler had never exhibited violent behavior and attributed many of his problems to his growing up without a father.
Dantzler behaved well in prison, completing his GED and did not receive any misconduct tickets, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Yet, Dantzler frequently exhibited violence and threatening behavior with women both close to him and a leasing agent at his apartment building. The woman said he threatened her after he was given a violation notice for misbehavior.
The mother of two of his children, Stacy Carter, who was not killed Thursday, obtained a personal protection order against Dantzler in 1997 when she was five months pregnant and he threatened her, pulled her car door off its hinges and threw a rock at the window.
In total, the court file showed five personal protection orders against Dantzler, multiple juvenile convictions for burglary and domestic violence and a fistful of traffic tickets.
In 2003, when Dantzler asked the judge for a move to a boot camp, he apologized for the road rage incident and said “this is my first felony and my last.”
He apparently didn’t count felony convictions he had as a minor. It was also the last time police would accuse him of a felony until Thursday.