Passengers Describe 'Scary' Ride with Uber Driver Accused in Deadly Shooting Spree in Michigan: 'You're Not the Shooter, Are You?'
One man visiting Kalamazoo, Michigan, said he drove with Jason Dalton just minutes before he was arrested for the deadly shooting spree
brightcove.createExperiences(); Two Uber passengers are sharing their stories of the moments they spent with the man accused of killing six people and injuring two more in a shooting spree around Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday.
When Matt Mellen ordered an Uber on Saturday, he found himself in the car of 45-year-old Jason Dalton, the man accused in the deadly spree, he told WWMT.
Mellen said he climbed in to Dalton’s Chevy HHR on Saturday afternoon, just hours before the shooting spree, according to WWMT. He said Dalton acted strange the entire time, initially introducing himself with a different name than the one listed on his Uber profile.
Dalton even brought his dog along for the ride, Mellen said.
“We were running stop signs. We were kind of driving through medians, driving through the lawn, speeding along and then finally once he came to a stop, I jumped out of the car and ran away,” he told the station, describing the ordeal as “scary.”
Mellen said Dalton began driving erratically after receiving a phone call. WNEM shared a video of the interview.
“He wouldn’t stop,” Mellen said. “He just kind of kept looking at me, like, ‘well, don’t you want to get to your friend’s house?’ and I’m like, ‘well, yeah, but I want to get there alive.’ ”
Following the fatal shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan that so far have claimed 6 lives, PEOPLE re-issues its Call to Action on Gun Violence, which was originally published in our Oct. 19 issue after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Mellen said he called the police and when he got to his friend’s house, his fiancée took to Facebook, warning others not to ride with the man.
The shooting spree began around 6 p.m. in a parking lot in Richland Township. The gunman allegedly shot a woman four times before moving on to a Ford dealership in Kalamazoo where he was believed to have fatally shot a father and son.
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After that, the suspect allegedly shot and killed four people in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel and left a 14-year-old girl “gravely injured,” Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said in a press conference early Sunday Morning, MLive reports.
Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Hadley previously told PEOPLE that police were investigating reports that Dalton was an Uber driver.
Dalton is expected to be arraigned on Monday.
An Indianapolis area man visiting Kalamazoo on Saturday described a calmer Dalton, when he spoke with WOOD-TV of his ride with the man, just minutes before Dalton’s arrest.
The man, identified only as Derek, said he and his family filed into Dalton’s car Saturday, after the deadly shootings had taken place.
He said his father mentioned the shooting from the back seat of the car.
“I kind of jokingly said to the driver, ‘You’re not the shooter, are you?’ ” Derek told the station. “He gave me some sort of a ‘no’ response.”
He said he jokingly pressed the driver, asking Dalton if he was sure, to which Dalton replied, “No, I’m not, I’m just tired.”
Derek said Dalton appeared calm and quiet. He said he didn’t notice any weapons or smell of gunpowder.
He didn’t realize his driver was the suspected shooter until he saw the man’s picture the next morning.
“It was the same guy,” he said. “It’s a little jarring. I don’t think that it’s really set in yet.”
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE. Uber’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, said Uber officials are “horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan.”
“Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this devastating crime and those recovering from injuries,” Sullivan said. “We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can.”