In a dark and grisly series of events Saturday night, police allege that Uber driver Jason Dalton shot 8 people in three different locations, killing six people. But the story gets even crazier, as Dalton allegedly not only picked up passengers between shootings, he continued to drive people around after his last shooting at 10:24pm at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. One of his last passengers before Dalton was arrested even joked, “You’re not the shooter, are you?”
A man from Indianapolis who was visiting the Kalamazoo area talked with the local news and wished to be known only as “Derek.” He, his wife, and his in-laws were at a restaurant, Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, when they heard about the shootings. They decided that they’d be safer using Uber than walking. They were picked up at 12:12am, roughly a half hour before Dalton was arrested.
“My father mentioned from the back seat, you know, the situation with the shooter,” Derek told Wood TV-8. “I kind of jokingly said to the driver, ‘You’re not the shooter, are you?’ He gave me some sort of a ‘no’ response… shook his head…’”
At that point, nobody knew that the alleged shooter was an Uber driver, but for some reason Derek pushed him for another response.
“I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m not, I’m just tired,’” Derek told the local news. “And we proceeded to have a pretty normal conversation after that.”
Derek and his family were dropped off at 12:19am and Dalton was arrested roughly twenty minutes later. Derek provided the news channel with his receipt as proof that he was likely Jason Dalton’s last passenger that night.
Previously it had been reported that the ride he gave to one man between Dalton’s alleged murder of two people at a Kia dealership and the Cracker Barrel shooting was chaotic and frightening. Derek said that Dalton seemed calm during their entire ride.
It has also been reported that a woman had hailed an Uber around 11pm, roughly a half hour after Dalton’s last shooting spree at Cracker Barrel. There’s no word yet on precisely how many people Dalton drove around that night. Nor the more inappropriately macabre question of what ratings he received for his rides.
Update, February 22, 5:40pm: Uber had a conference call with some reporters today and said that Dalton passed a background check and had an Uber driver score of 4.73.
“Overall, his rating was good,” Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer was quoted as saying by Quartz. “Before the events it was a 4.73.”
Quartz points out that a 4.73 isn’t actually considered good.
But on Uber, a rating of 4.73 isn’t good. In fact, it’s a number that Uber has previously defined as “below average, needs to improve,” and close to the threshold at which drivers risk deactivation.
Either way, this guy probably isn’t going to be getting near the steering wheel of an automobile anytime soon—Uber driver or not.