DETROIT (AP) — Chaos and confusion can be heard in a series of 911 calls released Tuesday from the day of a shooting rampage in southwestern Michigan, as dispatchers field frantic calls about a crazed Uber driver involved in traffic accidents and reports of seemingly random shootings.
Authorities say Jason Dalton shot at people in three different locations in and around Kalamazoo in between driving passengers for Uber on Feb. 20, killing six people and wounding two others. Dalton, 45, is charged with murder and attempted murder.
Authorities released about 30 minutes of calls from about a dozen people, including a woman trying to comfort a shooting victim outside an apartment complex. The names of the callers and some addresses were removed from the calls.
“Please don’t move. They’re coming. We got the kids,” a woman can be heard telling a victim.
Authorities have said 25-year-old Tiana Carruthers was outside with three or four children at an apartment complex playground when a man approached them in a car. Sensing trouble, she put herself between the car and the children, telling them to run home. Carruthers was shot but survived.
Other shootings happened outside a restaurant and at a car dealership.
One caller recounts the shooting at the car dealership, where a father and his 17-year-old son were killed while looking at vehicles.
“We heard gunshots and there was man standing there pointing a gun at two people lying on the ground,” a woman says. “You could see the smoke from his gun and hear it as we drove by.”
At points during the 911 recordings it appears that dispatchers are trying to determine whether the shootings are related to other calls about an erratic motorist.
“He picked me up from my house,” a male caller says of an Uber driver who had given him a ride. “It was nuts.” The caller goes on to describe how the driver “just started hammering the gas pedal and was pulling out in front of everyone. He hit a Ford Taurus.”
The caller said the Uber driver’s name was “Jason” and that he had the driver’s photo in a confirmation email about the ride.
Another caller says the Uber driver who picked him up was driving erratically.
“He hit a car. He drove through the woods. I got out of the car,” the man says. “He had a dog in the back seat. I don’t want someone to get hurt.”
Authorities have released no motive for the killings.
Dalton, who has been ordered to undergo a mental competency exam, told investigators that “a devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him.
Uber has said that Dalton cleared a background check and was approved to be a driver for the ride-sharing service on Jan. 25. He had given slightly more than 100 rides and had a rating of 4.73 stars out of a possible five before the shootings.
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