LANSING, MI – Lansing firefighter Dennis Rodeman died after a hit-and-run driver intentionally ran him over while he was collecting funds at a “fill the boot” event to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, police said.
“We believe that this was not an accident and that the actions of this individual were intentional,” Lansing Police Chief Michael Yankowski said.
Firefighters were collecting donations at Jolly Road and Cedar Street in south Lansing when Rodeman was struck. Police were dispatched to the scene at 3:40 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m., Rodeman was pronounced dead.
A 22-year-old man was apprehended in connection with the incident after a car chase, a foot chase and a struggle with police. Police are holding him on probable cause for open murder and felony fleeing and eluding. The evidence will be presented to the prosecutor’s office in the morning. The man’s name has not yet been released.
Yankowski said the police information was preliminary. He asked any witnesses to contact police at 517-483-4611.
Lansing Fire Chief Randall Talifarro said firefighters look forward to the fill-the-boot event as a positive way to interact with the community.
Rodeman was 35 and is survived by his wife. They were expecting their first child.
His death is a big loss to the department, Talifarro said.
“He was a very well thought of, highly regarded individual that worked for us since 2008,” he said.
Talifarro did not know the last time a Lansing firefighter had died in the line of duty, adding it has been quite some time. Now, the Lansing Fire Department is working to provide support to Rodeman’s widow, as well as staff members who are affected by the death.
“We are still dealing with the aftermath, to be very candid and honest,” Talifarro said.
Mayor Virg Bernero called the incident a shocking and unthinkable tragedy.
A fund is being set up for Rodeman’s wife, although details are not yet available.