A Lansing, Michigan firefighter and Marine veteran who served in Iraq died Wednesday after a man mowed him down in traffic while he was collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Dennis Rodeman, 35, was standing in a center turning lane while raising money in a “Fill the Boot” campaign when the 22-year-old suspect allegedly swerved in traffic to hit him.
Police said that there was some sort of verbal exchange before the incident, which occurred around 3:30 p.m.
“The suspect came by, was upset for whatever reason [and] circled back around” before striking Rodeman, Lansing police Capt. Jim Kraus told reporters. “The preliminary investigation is that he deliberately hit the firefighter.”
“He literally tried to hit him,” Tionna Davis, who witnessed Rodeman being hit, told the Detroit Free Press.
Davis said that Rodeman, who was a seven-year veteran of the department, was hit with such force that a boot he was wearing hit her car.
The suspect fled in his vehicle and later on foot before being apprehended. His name was not released as of Wednesday night, but according to WLNS, he is expected to face charges of open murder and felony fleeing and eluding.
Lansing mayor Virg Bernero released a statement calling Rodeman “a hero twice over.”
“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,” Bernero 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.
Rodeman was recently married. His wife is expecting their first child.