The man accused of killing a Lansing firefighter in a hit-and-run crash on Wednesday was arraigned in court on Thursday.
Grant Taylor, 22, is charged with open murder, failing to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident causing death, and two counts of fleeing and eluding.
Dennis Rodeman was hit at the intersection of Cedar Street and Jolly Road, west of Michigan State University. Other firefighters on the scene for the fundraiser rushed to help him, but the seven-year veteran was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Rodeman was 35 years old.
Police were able to locate the suspect's vehicle with the help of witnesses and 911 Center coordination.
According to police, Taylor and Rodeman briefly exchanged words. Then, Taylor took off, turned his truck around and intentionally slammed into the firefighter before taking off.
“The Lansing Police patrol and investigation units are to be commended for their prompt response, and thorough investigation, of this tragic event,” Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III 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.”
A GoFundMe has been set up for Rodeman's family. You can find more information at GoFundMe.com/LansingHero .
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernaro has released the following statement about Rodeman's death:
On behalf of the Lansing Fire Department and the City of Lansing, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Fire Fighter Dennis Rodeman, a seven-year veteran of LFD, who was struck this afternoon by a hit-and-run driver in a senseless, unthinkable tragedy that has left all of us in a state of shock. We join the men and women of Lansing Fire and all citizens of Lansing in expressing our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues for this heartbreaking loss.
While his extraordinary life story will be told in the days ahead, we know that Fire Fighter Rodeman was also a veteran of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of the 24th Marine Regiment, United States Marine Corps. He served his country with great pride, bravery and ability, having survived a tour of duty in Fallujah, Iraq, one of the most dangerous places in the world. It is beyond comprehension that this American hero lost his life on the streets of Lansing while collecting charitable contributions for children afflicted by muscular dystrophy.
May the memory of Lansing Fire Fighter and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Dennis Rodeman – a hero twice over – be forever etched in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege of knowing him.
Lt. Governor Brian Calley has issued the following statement on behalf of the Governor's office:
Such a horrifying, tragic and senseless act of violence. Prayers for his family and thankfulness to law enforcement who quickly apprehended the suspect.