After Dennis Rodeman, 35, survived a tour of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Marines, he joined the Lansing, Michigan, fire department. He was out on the street fundraising as part of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's “Fill the Boot” campaign on Sept. 9 when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Police told Fox 2 Detroit that 22-year-old Grant Taylor was angry the firefighters were holding traffic up during their fundraiser. After angry words were exchanged, Grant allegedly circled back and hit Rodeman with his truck before fleeing the scene, USA Today reported.
Police were able to arrest Grant after he had returned to his neighborhood. Grant is currently suspected of deliberately hitting Rodeman, according to police.
Rodeman got married two months ago -- he and his wife, who is a nurse at the hospital he was brought to following the accident on Wednesday night, were expecting their first child.
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Both Rodeman’s wife and his fellow firefighters are struggling to cope with his sudden death.
"We'll be there for her with her support system and putting it in place for her," said Capt. Stephen Babcock, according to Fox 2 Detroit. “We're trying to give her space where she needs space, assistance where she needs assistance.”
Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro said Rodeman was well-regarded by his colleagues.
"He was just a joy to work around," he added.
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The city of Lansing has created an online fundraiser on GoFundMe to raise money to cover the cost of Rodeman’s funeral and to assist his wife and unborn child. As of this writing, the GoFundMe page has raised over $77,000 of its $100,000 goal.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero released a short statement on Wednesday night regarding the incident. He called the Rodeman's death "a senseless, unthinkable tragedy."