Crazed Uber Driver Goes On Shooting Spree While Picking Up Passengers

[Kalamazoo, Michigan]

On February 20th, 2016, Uber driver, Jason Dalton (45), picked up Matt Mellen at 4:21pm. Matt explained that the driver was driving erratically. Despite Matt begging for him to calm down, Jason swerved into oncoming traffic, drove onto a median strip, and hit another driver. When Jason came to a stop sign, Matt hopped out and managed to call 911 warning them about an insane Uber.

Meanwhile, Jason received a notification that a woman needed to be picked up. A witness reported seeing him aggressively driving toward an apartment complex around 5:40pm. Apparently, there was a mix up with where exactly the person was located within the complex because he drove up to someone else. Tiana Carruthers (25) was supervising six children, including her daughter, who were playing outside. When she told Jason that she didn’t need an Uber, he repeatedly shot her, but not before she was able to scurry the children out of the line of fire. She ultimately survived her wounds after a long recovery and many surgeries.

As he fled from the scene, he hit another car and drove home. Jason told his wife that the damage on his car came from an angry taxi driver. He switched cars and grabbed a different gun. Before leaving again, he explained to his wife that he couldn’t tell her what was going on, but it would be on the news soon. His wrath ceased for four hours as he picked up more Uber requests and drove them around without incident.

At 10:01pm, he parked his car at a car dealership because he saw a father and son looking at vehicles. He approached Rich (53) and Tyler (17) Smith to ask what type of cars they were looking at. Neither could respond before Jason unloaded 18 shots in their direction. The father and son were immediately killed while Tyler’s girlfriend hid in the back seat of their car. Another petrified witness at a Burger King was able to call 911 and film Jason fleeing the scene.

10 minutes later, Jason arrived at a Cracker Barrel restaurant located five miles away from the car dealership. He walked up to the window of Barbara Hawthorne (68) who was sitting in her car with her granddaughter Abigail Kopf (14). He asked her a question followed by instantaneous shots. Barbara was killed, but Abigail survived despite being shot in the head. Just seconds later, he turned his attention to a vehicle parked closely to Barbara’s. Inside were her three friends, Mary Lou Nye (62), Mary’s sister in law, Mary Jo Nye (60), and Dorothy ‘Judy’ Brown (74). All three women were killed from more gunfire. Police were already on scene at the car dealership which allowed them to hear the shots rippling through the town coming from Cracker Barrel. An active shooter warning was put out to all Kalamazoo citizens.

At 12:04am, Jason resumed his Ubering by picking up and dropping off three people from a college dormitory. Just 8 minutes later, he picked up four new passengers. Ironically, one of the passengers jokingly asked him if he was the active shooter because they heard about the warning. Jason simply replied “No.” When the group was safely dropped off, he picked up another set of three people. One of the passengers during that ride also asked Jason the same question. Officers swarmed all parts of the city to locate the shooter. At 12:36am, they spotted Jason dropping off his last three people. He was pulled over four minutes later and arrested without incident. It was determined that over 30 rounds were shot during his rampage and there was no real motive.

Jason Dalton was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. One of his surviving victims, Tiana Carruthers, was able to testify. During one of her testimonies, Jason continuously interrupted her which overwhelmed her and caused her to cry. Officers forcefully rushed him out of the courtroom while the trial was set to be resumed at a later time.

Tiana was later able to give a victim impact statement where she had much more confidence in her presence. She demanded Jason to look her in the face, but he refused to. “You tried to kill us all. You failed. I’m standing right in front of you…I’m still standing here…how does that make you feel…look at me”, she asserted.

22. Sociology & Criminal Justice Major. True Crime Fanatic. Writer. All articles are tossed together from the comfort of my couch.