Grand Rapids Standoff: Suspect Commits Suicide After Hostage Situation

Suspect Kills Self in Michigan
WATCH Suspect Kills Self in Michigan Standoff

A man suspected of killing seven people in Grand Rapids, Mich., killed himself by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after an eight-hour manhunt and an armed hostage standoff with police officers, according to authorities.

Rodrick Shonte Dantzler, 34, had been holding three people hostage Thursday night in a house on Rickman Avenue in Grand Rapids, according to Police Chief Kevin Belk.

"The suspect chose to put the gun to his head and fired one shot, taking his life," Belk said in a news conference after the standoff ended.

None of the hostages were injured in the incident. Late Thursday evening, the suspect released a 53-year-old female hostage unharmed after negotiations with authorities, Belk said.

The eight-hour manhunt began at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, after the discovery of two murder scenes in two separate homes in Grand Rapids, where at least seven people died, including at least two children -- one in each location, Belk said.

Dantzler appeared to have "prior relationships with at least one person at each location," according to Belk.

After announcing Dantzler as the suspect in the shootings, police chased a vehicle believed to belong to Dantzler along Interstate 96 in the north end of Grand Rapids, resulting in the car crashing in downtown Grand Rapids after shots were fired at police, Belk said.

During the chase, Belk said, the suspect shot two other people, although they did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

At one point, Dantzler abandoned his vehicle and ran up the highway. The pursuit continued on foot until Dantzler entered the standoff house.

"We believe, at this point, it was a random house that he ended up exiting his vehicle and ran to the first house that he came to," Belk said Thursday night before the hostage situation ended.

As police negotiated with Dantzler, it was apparent that he was agitated, and while they were telling him how to give himself up, he shot and killed himself, according to ABC News affiliate WZZM.

"The victims were in a back corner of the house. We had officers in the house … we were talking to him when the incident occurred," Belk said. "He had threatened people, asked officers to shoot him. He was talking about giving himself up, and at the last moment decided to take his own life."

"We had medical personnel staging close to the scene, they were brought in immediately … [they confirmed] that he had died at the scene," Balk said.

Witnesses said police exchanged gunfire with someone in the house, ABC News' Tom Campbell in Grand Rapids reported. Campbell said the person in the house opened fire on police vehicles with five to seven shots, and a woman in a red SUV was caught in the crossfire and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

ABC News' Phil Dawson reported dozens of law enforcement officers were gathered at the scene.

Belk told WZZM that four bodies were found at one location. Three other bodies were discovered at a second location.

"This is a rare occurrence anywhere," Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell told the Associated Press before the standoff ended. "A homicide like this is exceedingly rare. It's an awful situation and he's still at large."

Dantzler previously served jail time on a charge of felony assault less than murder, the AP reported.

He also previously has been accused of misdemeanor assault and battery, and domestic violence, WZZM reported.