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Heeren Bros. co-owner, three family members slain

by | July 15, 2011

The co-owner of Grand Rapids, MI-based Heeren Bros. was found dead July 7 at his home in Grand Rapids along with his wife, daughter and granddaughter after a shooting rampage that claimed seven people.

Thomas Heeren, 51, who operated Heeren Bros. along with his brothers and cousins, was shot to death along with his wife, Rebecca, daughter, Jennifer, and granddaughter, Kamrie. The shooter, Rodrick Shonte Dantzler, the estranged husband of Jennifer Heeren and father of Kamrie Heeren-Dantzler, killed himself following a standoff with authorities.

Mr. Dantzler, 34, had a history of violence, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press, and apparently “went out hunting ex-girlfriends,” Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk was quoted as saying. Another former girlfriend, along with that woman’s sister and niece, were also killed in a separate attack. A third woman who was an ex-girlfriend of the shooter, was followed in her car and shot, but survived the attack.

In a statement released on the Heeren Bros. web site by Chief Executive Officer Hal Roy, the company expressed profound sadness for the loss of Mr. Heeren, who was known more commonly by the nickname Frank.

“As a third-generation member of the Heeren family, Tom spent his entire career in sales and marketing at the Grand Rapids wholesaler of fruits and vegetables. Tom was incredibly dedicated to our business and to his family. We remember him as a man with the kindest of hearts who would give you the shirt off his back,” the statement read. “Tom Heeren and his family were deeply respected and loved by all of us at Heeren Brothers. They will be missed.”

Funeral services for the four family members were scheduled for July 15 at the Sunshine Community Church in Grand Rapids.

In lieu of flowers, the company requested that donations be made to the Thomas Carter Blease Scholarship Fund at Fifth Third Bank or Safe Haven Ministries.