LOWELL, Ind. (CBS) — Friday’s arrest of a suburban police officer for a shooting spree that left one person dead and two others wounded brought a sense of relief to the victims and their families. But residents were also shocked the shooting suspect is a cop.
“On one hand, I want to cry. On the other, I want to jump up and click my heels. I’m thrilled. I’m very happy,” Kristina Garza told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.
“We don’t have to watch our backs anymore. … We don’t have to watch our backs,” she said, holding back tears.
Garza’s nephew, Joshua, was among the three construction workers approached by the gunman at a home they were rehabbing near Beecher. Joshua Garza was shot in the head.
Rolando Alonso was killed. A third construction worker got away. Later on Tuesday morning, a farmer, Keith Dahl, 64, was shot and wounded near Lowell, Ind.
Kristina Garza said her nephew is “a tough cookie. I told him yesterday, he is my hero. He’s the toughest kid I know.”
“This gentleman looked at my nephew and said, ‘I don’t envy you,’ and then [he] shot at these three people and so at this point, right back at you. I don’t envy you either. Because, he’s gonna get what he deserves to get, so I’m very happy,” Garza said.
But the suspect’s father, security guard John Dorian, said there is no way his son committed the crimes. He warned that the real shooter is still out there.
“I don’t know where, but he’s still out there,” John Dorian told CBS 2’s Mike Parker.
Dorian first worked for the Lansing police department for two years starting in 2003. His fellow officers said Friday that they’re blown away by the news.
At the Lynwood police station, officers were stunned by Dorian’s arrest and neighbors in Crete were all shocked as well when a stream of police cars showed up at the home of their neighbor.
“I seen ‘em all just basically pile up in driveway, and then that’s when they entered the house,” neighbor Michael Meyer told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez. “There was some yelling going on. I don’t know if they pulled him out of the house or not, but there was some yelling going on.”
Police arrested Dorian out of family’s house in Crete and charged him with murder. Some residents in his neighborhood described Dorian as a truly nice guy. Others did not.
“Our dog got out one day and he basically put my fiancée in a full-blown panic attack,” Meyer said. “He just started yelling at her about the dog, ‘Get the dog out of here, I’ll shoot the dog.’”
Neighbors said that Dorian, who liked to boat and ride a motorcycle, moved in about 10 years ago with a wife. But the couple split several years ago.
CBS 2’s cameras captured Dorian’s sister, Tara, entering and leaving his house, then walking to the home of a neighbor to ask about his two pitbulls, which had already been removed.
One woman in a stream of onlookers driving past the house on Friday recalled Dorian’s role in a car crash in 2006 that claimed the life of a local teenager -17 year old Dylan Drapeau.
“He’s come up a couple of times, with the accident of Dylan a couple of years ago,” Veronica White said. “About two years ago there was a police chase that ended up in his front yard.”
Lynwood Mayor Eugene Williams said he knows Dorian personally and he called Dorian’s arrest bittersweet.
“We’ve heard one of our own is arrested and we’re still hoping maybe there’s some sort of mistake,” he said. “But at same time, maybe feeling feelings of relief that if there’s some kind of mad person out there, he has been caught.”
Elisa Ramirez has positive memories of Brian Dorian. She said he dressed up as Santa Claus one Christmas when her family was broke and brought over gifts.
“He came to our house with another police officer and gave me over $200 of gifts,” she said.
A detective from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office returned to the scene where farmer Keith Dahl was shot on Friday. Dahl’s wife was with the detective, who was searching for any evidence that could be linked to the shooter.
Over at nearby Lowell Middle School, students were outside for gym class, something they weren’t allowed to do for the past few days. The school had been on lockdown along with other schools in the area.
“We’re very relieved that the suspect was apprehended and now our community can get back to being assured that they’re safe to go outside,” said Lowell Middle School Principal Reid Gault. “Authorities did their job and we’re thankful for that,” Gault said.
The wake for Rolando Alonso, the father of nine killed by the gunman, was being held on Friday. His stepdaughter said that her family is grateful to God the suspect has been caught, so he can’t hurt another family the way they have been hurt.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot, Roseanne Tellez and Mike Parker contributed to this report.