Authorities in Michigan say a 22-year-old man will face murder charges after striking and killing a firefighter with a pickup truck while the firefighter was standing in a roadway collecting money for a charity Wednesday afternoon.
Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski told WLNS-TV that the suspect, who has not been identified, would be charged with open murder and felony fleeing in connection with the death of Dennis Rodeman, a seven-year veteran of the Lansing Fire Department.
The 35-year-old Rodeman, a former Marine who fought in Iraq, was struck by a white Chevrolet pickup truck at about 3:40 p.m. He and other firefighters were participating in an annual "Fill The Boot" fundraising campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters, authorities said.
Police said Rodeman and the suspect exchanged words moments before the firefighter was hit.
"The suspect came by, was upset for whatever reason (and) circled back around" before striking the firefighter," Lansing police Capt. Jim Kraus told the Lansing State Journal. "The preliminary investigation is that he deliberately hit the firefighter."
Rodeman was wearing a reflective vest and other gear and was standing in the road's center turning lane.
Witness Tionna Davis told the newspaper she was driving in the area and saw the pickup swerve from one lane to another before Rodeman was struck.
"He literally tried to hit him," she said. Davis said that traffic was moving slowly at that intersection, and two other drivers chased after the pickup and managed to get its license plate number.
Police said the suspect drove away from the scene, but was eventually caught after attempting to flee from police officers on foot.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero called Rodeman's death "a senseless, unthinkable tragedy."
"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," the mayor said. "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."
Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifaro told the State Journal that Rodeman was "very well thought of" and "a highly regarded individual" by his colleagues. The chief added that Rodeman was married two months ago and was expecting his first child.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.