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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Grand Rapids Man Pleads Guilty To Transferring Firearm Used To Kill Seven People


           GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today that Michael James Allen, a 35-year-old Grand Rapids resident, pled guilty to transferring a Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol to Roderic Dantzler, knowing that Dantzler was a convicted felon and prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. Dantzler used that firearm on July 7, 2011, to kill seven people in Grand Rapids, including two children; he then led police on a high-speed chase through highly-populated areas of Grand Rapids; and he used the pistol to take three hostages and to shoot at pursuing officers before using the gun to commit suicide.

           Allen, himself a multi-convicted felon, faces up to ten years’ imprisonment. Federal law prohibits the transfer of a firearm to another person if the transferor either knows or has reasonable cause to believe the person has previously been convicted of a felony. Dantzler served three years in prison after being convicted in 2000 of felony assault with intent to do bodily harm. Dantzler had also incurred misdemeanor convictions for assault and battery, domestic violence, and malicious destruction of property. Allen’s criminal history includes a 1997 misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana, a 2000 misdemeanor conviction for attempted assault with a dangerous weapon, a 2000 felony conviction for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, a 2001 felony conviction for possession with intent to deliver cocaine, a 2001 felony conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a 2008 felony conviction for delivery/manufacture of marijuana.

           This case is the result of a joint two-year investigation by the Grand Rapids Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The search for the person who provided the firearm to Dantzler began within hours of its recovery from the crime scene.

           In a related case, on May 20, 2013, 31-year-old Joseph Michael Krul, a multi-convicted felon, pled guilty before the Honorable Robert Holmes Bell to possessing the same Glock 9mm pistol prior to its transfer to Allen. Krul’s federal felon-in-possession conviction carries a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment. His criminal history includes a 2008 felony conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon. Krul will be sentenced on October 1, 2013.

           U.S. Attorney Miles praised the work of the Grand Rapids Police Department and the ATF, noting the dedication, professionalism, and countless hours of work that resulted in this successful prosecution. He also noted the importance of enforcing those laws intended to deter the illegal trafficking of firearms. “This case exemplifies the insidious nature of illegal gun trafficking that all too often leads to a tragic end. The primary purpose of the federal laws barring convicted felons from possessing firearms, and prohibiting the transfer of firearms to convicted felons, is the prevention of violent crime, such as caused the senseless death of seven innocent people on July 7, 2011. Hopefully, those intent on circumventing the federal firearms laws will get the message that we are prepared to protect the public by bringing them to justice.”

           “This investigation is an example of ATF’s commitment and determination in making our communities safe. ATF’s Frontline strategy is our business model that addresses such violent gun crime. These accomplishments could not have been achieved without the collaboration and hard work of ATF, Grand Rapids Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office”, said ATF Acting SAC Daryl McCrary.

           Allen will be sentenced by the Honorable Paul L. Maloney. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.


Updated April 15, 2015