LANSING, Mich., Sept. 10 (UPI) — A firefighter in Lansing, Mich., died Wednesday after a hit-and-run incident authorities described as a deliberate attack.
Dennis Rodeman, 35, died Wednesday of injuries he sustained while collecting donations for muscular dystrophy research on the side of the road Tuesday.
Lansing Mayor Birg Bernero called the incident “a senseless, unthinkable tragedy,”the Lansing State Journal reported.
Lansing Police Department Cpt. Jim Kraus said the was hit-and-run intentional. Rodeman and the 22-year-old suspect allegedly had an argument prior to the incident.
“The suspect came by, was upset for whatever reason (and) circled back around” before hitting Rodeman, Kraus said. “The preliminary investigation is that he deliberately hit the firefighter who was standing in the road, collecting for the charity.”
The driver, whose name hasn’t been revealed, allegedly drove past Rodeman, turned around and struck him with his vehicle. Lansing was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later died.
Two other drivers chased down the truck and managed to get its license plate number.
The suspect fled from the vehicle and a foot-and-car chase by police ensued. He was arrested and is expected to face charges of open murder and fleeing from a felony.
Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro said Rodeman had been married for two months and was expecting his first child. He was a seven-year veteran of the fire department and was a former Marine who completed a tour of duty in Iraq.
The incident marks the first in the 61-year history of the “Fill the Boot” campaign, in which firefighters across the United States stand at intersections to collect donations in empty firefighter boots.
Bernero called for flags at all city institutions to fly at half-mast Thursday. He said the city is collaborating with the International Association of Firefighters to create a fund for Rodeman’s wife.