U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Western District of Michigan
Western District of Michigan
For Immediate Release
February 3, 2014
Patrick A. Miles, Jr., United States Attorney
Contact: Kathy Schuette
Grand Rapids Man Who Sold Gun Used In Mass Murder Sentenced
CITY GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Michael James Allen, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been sentenced today to ten years (120 months) in prison – the statutory maximum – for his role in transferring a Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol to multi-convicted felon Roderic Dantzler, who used it to kill seven people. Allen previously pled guilty to being a felon in possession of that pistol, as he was also a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing any firearm. During his plea hearing, Allen admitted to selling the Glock pistol to Dantzler. In sentencing Allen, Chief U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney commented that “the wreckage of Mr. Allen’s actions is unspeakable,” noting that Allen knew Dantzler was dangerous and unstable.
On July 7, 2011, Dantzler used the Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol to kill his wife, his twelve-year-old daughter, his mother and father-in-law, a former girlfriend, that girlfriend’s sister, and her ten-year-old daughter. Dantzler also shot at the driver of another vehicle during a road-rage incident; he attempted to kill police officers; he fled from the police at high rates of speed; and he kidnapped three hostages before taking his own life – leaving the total death toll at eight.
That same day, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for assistance in determining who was responsible for providing that Glock pistol to Dantzler. A two-year federal investigation ensued, leading to the convictions of three individuals, including Allen, each of whom illegally possessed the Glock pistol and transferred it to a known convicted felon.
Joseph Krul, a convicted felon and admitted drug dealer, was sentenced on October 25, 2013, to 63 months’ imprisonment for his role in this case. A third individual, who cooperated in the investigation and who played a key role in the successful prosecution of Allen was allowed to plead to a state charge of being a felon in possession of the Glock pistol. The cooperator wore a wire during two meetings with Allen in which he recorded incriminating statements Allen made, including threats to kill cooperating witnesses. At one point, Allen stated: “It’s hard to testify against someone when you’re dead.”
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles underscored the seriousness of the offense, noting that this case illustrates the need to prevent the illegal trafficking in firearms. “This was a tragedy that was entirely avoidable. Selling a semiautomatic pistol to Dantzler was like lighting a match to a powder keg. Bringing those to justice who provided Dantzler that firearm required great individual efforts by members of the GRPD and ATF in a lengthy and thorough joint investigation. It is our hope that this community and the victims’ family members find some measure of solace and closure from that effort and this outcome.”
“Michael Allen put a firearm into the hands of a violent criminal,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Steven Bogdalek. “Although the defendant didn’t shoot any of victims killed by Roderick Dantzler, he willingly provided the handgun that was used to commit heinous acts of violence.”
GRPD Captain Jeffrey Hertel added that he is “hopeful that the disposition of the Michael Allen case provides more answers to the families that lost loved ones that fateful day. The intensive investigation represents the strong partnership between the ATF and the Grand Rapids Police Department. The investigation was possible because of the continued commitment to safety in our neighborhoods by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”