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Michigan police seek murder charge in hit and run of firefighter

Dennis Rodeman died Wednesday evening after being struck during an annual fundraiser. 

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    Lansing police chief Mike Yankowski speaks during a press conference Wednesday in Lansing, Mich. Dennis Rodeman, a 35-year-old Lansing firefighter has died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as he collected money for charity.
    Dave Wasinger/Lansing State Journal/AP
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Police in Lansing, Mich., are awaiting charges against a hit-and-run driver accused of deliberately striking a firefighter and US Marine veteran who died Wednesday night after being hit during a charity fundraiser.

Dennis Rodeman was collecting funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual “Fill the Boot” drive alongside fellow firefighters on Wednesday afternoon when there was a verbal “altercation” with the driver of a pick-up truck, according to the Lansing State Journal. Witnesses allege that the driver, who has not yet been named, became “upset” and turned the car around, swerving into the lane where Mr. Rodeman stood to hit him.

Although Rodeman was positioned in the central turning lane, the firefighters had taken safety precautions such as posting signs and wearing reflective gear.

After speeding off, the suspect abandoned his car and ran, but was caught by police and taken into custody on suspicion of murder and the felony of fleeing and eluding.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero mourned Rodeman’s death as “beyond comprehension” and ordered that flags be flown at half-mast for the city’s “American hero.” He announced that the city would partner with the International Association of Firefighters to raise funds for Rodeman’s family.  

The International Association of Firefighters has raised nearly $558 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association since 1954, according to an MDA press release.

Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro remembered Rodeman as having an “unblemished” record and being “a joy to work around.” A 7-year veteran of the Fire Department, Rodeman had previously served in Fallujah with the Marines, and was recently married. He and his wife were expecting their first child.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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