Last night a man in Kalazmazoo, Michigan shot 8 people at random, killing six of them. The shootings took place in three different locations and terrifyingly, the suspect was an Uber driver who allegedly picked up at least one fare in the middle of his 5-hour massacre.
Police believe that the shooter was Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old man with no prior criminal convictions. Local news channel WOOD TV8 has confirmed that Dalton was an Uber driver. The police are now investigating a Facebook post that was allegedly made by the fiance of one of the passengers that Dalton picked up in between his first two murder locations and the shooting at a Cracker Barrel in Texas Township.
Dalton allegedly killed a woman in Richland Township and then made his way to a Kia dealership where he killed a father and son. The shooter then killed four people and injured one in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel, but not before picking up at least one fare and driving his passenger to a Fairfield Inn.
The Facebook post about the Uber driver included the photo of Dalton seen above on the left. The post (which now appears to be deleted or set to private) alleges that he was driving erratically:
ATTENTION kzoo peeps!!!! This uber driver named JASON drives a silver Chevy Equinox is NOT a safe ride! A little bit ago my fiancé got a ride with him and he was driving VERY erratically. They sideswiped a car blowing through the stop sign at Henderson castle and West Main Hill, and the driver continued driving. Then this man proceeded to drive 129km/h down west main swerving in and out of oncoming traffic. Despite Matt pleading with this driver to pull over he refused. Finally when he slowed down the vehicle, Matt was able to get out. He was acting completely normal throughout all of this erratic driving!! Please share if you are in the kzoo area. Stay safe! 911 was called but surprisingly they didn't seem all that concerned I'm thankful that no one was hurt yet. Hoping this man will be arrested or hospitalized soon if he has a medical condition causing his behaviour.
The post was allegedly published around 6:00pm, roughly around the same time that the shooter would begin killing people in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel. As you can see from Google Maps, the location of the passenger's allege drop off point (the Fairfield Inn) is right next door to the Cracker Barrel.
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, before Dalton was finally apprehended during a traffic stop in Kalamazoo around 12:40 am — after police spotted a car matching the description given by witnesses. A semi-automatic gun was found in his vehicle. Derek provided the news channel with his receipt as proof that he was likely Jason Dalton's last passenger that night.
Gizmodo has reached out to Uber and will update this post when we hear back.