CHICAGO — Police in Michigan were on the hunt Thursday for a man suspected of shooting dead five women, a man and a child in two different houses in the Great Lakes city of Grand Rapids.

The suspect, 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler, who was armed with a handgun, had a personal connection to both households, police said, without elaborating.

"We consider him armed and dangerous," Sergeant Jon Wu of the Grand Rapids police department told AFP, confirming the fatalities and saying that a city wide manhunt was under way, involving state troopers and helicopters.

"We have all our resources deployed," Sergeant Wu said.

Family members said Dantzler had been released recently from prison, was very distraught, and may be bipolar and off his medication, according to local media reports.

Police feared the suspect could be in a vehicle trying to make his way to Detroit.