Man convicted for attempted murder, 9 felonies in 2022 Cass County shooting
Published 10:00 am Sunday, May 28, 2023
CASSOPOLIS — A Cass County man who tried to enter a Vandalia Dollar General to “hunt humans” in July of last year was found guilty Friday in Cass County Court.
Randy Kirk Jr., described in closing by Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz as “hunting humans,” was found guilty of assault with intent to murder and nine other felony charges.
Kirk was convicted of the following charges:
One count: Assault w/Intent to Murder, Habitual 3rd – Life or any term of years
One count: Felonious assault, Habitual 3rd – eight-year maximum
Two counts: Resisting and Obstructing Police – Four-year maximum
One count: Ammunition Possess by Felon – 10-year maximum
One count: Firearm Possess by Felon – 10-year maximum
Four counts: Felony Firearm – Two-year maximum
All sentences run concurrently, except the four felony counts which are concurrent to each other but consecutive to the other six convictions.
Kirk was also found not guilty of one count of felonious assault and one count of felony firearm.
The trial began on Tuesday. Testimony at trial revealed that Cass County Detective Kevin Cook intercepted and neutralized Kirk, an active shooter, a short distance from the entrance of the Dollar General in Vandalia.
At approximately 8:45 a.m. July 26, 2022, Kirk was seen standing outside his Blue SUV at the intersection of Brownsville and Calvin Center Road firing six or more shots from a silver handgun at cars traveling the roadway. At the time, the defendant was living a short distance from the intersection. After this initial gunfire barrage, Kirk was seen getting into his SUV and heading north toward M-60 and Vandalia.
Local resident Justice Colpitts, who was driving southbound down Calvin Center Road witnessed Kirk peppering the trafficked area with bullets. He did a 180 in the roadway and began following the suspect north toward M-60 while simultaneously dialing Cass County Central Dispatch to relay his real-time observations.
With Colpitts continuing to intermittently stop and follow at a safe distance, Kirk parked his vehicle on M-60, got out and began shooting down the roadway in the direction of Colpitts pickup. Colpitts described from the stand hearing the high-pitched “whizz” of multiple bullets flying by him, as well as hearing one of the projectiles thud into the front passenger headlamp of his vehicle.
Fellow M-60 traveler Aaron Vroma also testified and corroborated the path of travel and the gunplay of the Kirk. This included the defendant pointing his gun out of the driver side of his moving vehicle, as well as stopping repeatedly and shooting at Colpitts.
With the information provided by Colpitts, Vroma and others, dispatchers were able to accurately direct fast-moving unmarked units and police cruisers to the Dollar General just as Kirk pulled in by the open doors to the business.
Evidence at trial also revealed that Kirk had reloaded his semi-automatic Ruger with 16 bullets just prior to pulling into the business parking lot.
Multiple employees and customers were in the store or arrived around the same time as the defendant and the officers.
Cass County Detective Kevin Cook pulled up first and immediately exited his vehicle a few feet from Kirk and the store entrance. Dollar General store video showed that Kirk responded by leveling his semi-automatic directly at Cook. Cook responded by pointing his AR-15 directly at Kirk and ordering him to put the weapon down. At the same time, Cook moved deliberately toward the Criminal gunman, and quickly wrestled him to the ground. Moments later other officers arrived and joined in the fray, including Cass County Sheriff’s Captain Tom Jacobs, Sergeant Jeff Johnson and Cassopolis Police Chief Todd McMichael.
Cook also testified that the extensive training he had received regarding active shooter response assisted him in his decisive and likely life-saving actions at the scene.
The jury took two-and-a-half hours to deliberate and return with a guilty verdict.
Fitz indicated after the trial that “Colpitts and Cook were heroes, as were the other brave responders to this active shooter incident. They put their lives at risk to shield others from death.”
Fitz also advised that “the coordinated effort of citizens, police and dispatchers averted potentially catastrophic carnage. And just in the nick of time. Michiana can be extremely proud of the actions of its law enforcement officers.”
The defendant has two prior convictions for maintaining methamphetamine labs in 2004.
Kirk is set for sentencing at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 15 in front of Judge Herman.