Uber Shooter Said App Controlled Him Like a “Puppet”
The former Uber (UBER) driver charged with fatally shooting six and wounding two in Kalamazoo, Mich. last month while picking up passengers told police the company’s ride-hailing app had been controlling him, officials said.
In the hours following the shooting on the night of Feb. 20, 45-year-old Josh Dalton told investigators the Uber app “was almost like artificial intelligence that can tap into your body,” and he had been controlled like a “puppet” to drive and shoot, police reports released Monday state.
Dalton, who has no prior criminal charges, also told police that a symbol resembling the Eastern Star would pop up on the app.
“Dalton described the devil figure as a horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body,” the police reports stated.
The Uber app would also turn from black to red, which was when his consciousness was taken over by the app, Dalton told police. “He was seeing himself from outside of his body.”
When police pulled Dalton over at the end of the shootings, Dalton said the app turned from black to red, returning his consciousness. At which point, Dalton was able to surrender to officials, Dalton told investigators.
Detectives also asked Dalton why he’d worn a bulletproof vest or brought a gun on the ride, to which he responded the app had controlled him from the moment he logged onto it that day.
Dalton also told police the he knew he had killed, though he was not a killer. He also said was “afraid that maybe he could’ve killed his family,” the reports stated.
Prior to the interview, investigators reported overhearing Dalton whispering to himself “Sorry to you” and what sounds like “my love.”
Dalton had completed over 100 rides through Uber and received many positive reviews from passengers before the shootings. He has also been cleared by Uber’s background checks.
Dalton has no history of mental issues, police said. He had been order to undergo a mental-competency exam.
Uber’s Chief Security Officer, Joe Sullivan said in a conference last month that “no background check would have flagged and anticipated this situation.”
Fortune has reached out to Uber for additional comment.