Uber got complaints about shooting suspect

Jason Dalton A prosecutor said the Uber driver admitted to carrying out the attacks. He was charged with six counts of murder.


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The Uber ride-hailing service acknowledged Monday that it received complaints about erratic driving by the suspect in the random shootings that killed six people in Kalamazoo.

A prosecutor said Monday that the man admitted carrying out the attacks.

As authorities pieced together Jason Dalton's actions, the prosecutor said Dalton picked up Uber fares after the first shooting and probably got more riders after the subsequent shootings.

Dalton, a 45-year-old former insurance adjuster, appeared briefly in court by video link and was charged with six counts of murder. A judge denied him bail.

During a talk with investigators, Dalton waived his right against self-incrimination and confessed his role in the Saturday night shootings, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said.

Dalton admitted "that he took people's lives," Kalamazoo Police Detective Cory Ghiringhelli told the court. The murder charges carry a mandatory life sentence. Michigan does not have the death penalty.

An Uber passenger said he called police to report that Dalton was driving erratically more than an hour before the shootings began.

Matt Mellen told Kalamazoo television station WWMT that he hailed a ride around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. He said the driver, Dalton, introduced himself as "Me-Me" and had a dog in the back seat.

Mellen sat in front. About a mile into the trip, Dalton got a phone call, and when he hung up, he began driving recklessly, blowing through stop signs and sideswiping cars, Mellen said. "We were driving through medians, driving through the lawn, speeding along, and when we came to a stop, I jumped out of the car and ran away," Mellen said. He said he called police.

Uber said riders complained Saturday about Dalton's driving. When alerted to unsafe driving, company policy is to contact the driver.

But Uber officials would not say whether anyone at the company spoke to Dalton, deferring to law enforcement.

Dalton passed a background check and became a driver on Jan. 25. He had given about 100 rides, the company said.

Since Dalton's arrest, several people have come forward to say that he picked them up for Uber in the hours after the first attack. The Associated Press could not confirm those accounts.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said that Uber is cooperating with law enforcement officials and that he believes the company will "helpus fill in some timeline gaps."

Police have not provided a motive.

Questions about motive and Dalton's frame of mind are "going to be the hardest to answer for anybody," Fuller said. He expects some answers to emerge in court, but he doubts they will be satisfying.

"In the end, I ask people, because I keep hearing this question of why, 'What would be the answer that would be an acceptable answer for you?' They have to think about it for a moment, and they say, 'Probably nothing.'

"I have to say, 'You are probably correct.' I can't imagine what the answer would be that would let us go, 'OK, we understand now.' Because we are not going to understand," the sheriff said.

In a statement Monday, Dalton's family offered condolences to the families of the victims and thanked law enforcement officials. The family said it planned to help authorities with the investigation.

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