Before Mass Shooting, Uber Sidelined Complaint

Injured Kalamazoo teen still fighting for life
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2016 3:44 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2016 6:03 AM CST
Before Mass Shooting, Uber Sidelined Complaint
Jason Dalton is arraigned via video on Monday in Kalamazoo, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Could faster action from Uber have stopped the Kalamazoo rampage? The company has admitted it received a complaint about driver Jason Dalton hours before Saturday's mass shooting and failed to act on it, the Guardian reports. Passenger Matt Mellen may have been present at the moment the alleged gunman snapped: Mellen tells WWMT that after receiving a phone call, Dalton started driving like a maniac, sideswiping cars and running stop signs. Mellen called both 911 and Uber after jumping out of the car and running away. An Uber spokesperson says the complaint fell "into the back bucket" because the feedback wasn't prioritized and the company prefers to speak to both sides instead of automatically deactivating drivers over complaints about erratic driving. Dalton, however, wasn't contacted after the complaint, according to the rep, who says it would have been very different if there had been a "whiff of violence." It's not clear what action police took after the 911 call from Mellen. Other developments:

  • Police say the first victim, a woman who was shot three times and survived, "sensed trouble" and sent her children inside when Dalton turned up outside her apartment complex on Saturday, the New York Daily News reports. Witnesses tell WWMT that before opening fire, Dalton asked: "Have you seen Mazie?"

  • Uber security chief Joe Sullivan says Dalton, 45, was cleared to be a driver on Jan. 25 after passing a security check, the AP reports. He says that after around 100 rides, he had a rating of 4.73 out of five stars. "No background check would have flagged and anticipated this situation," he says.
  • The parents of Abigail Kopf, the critically injured 14-year-old girl pronounced dead before she squeezed her mom's hand, say she is on a ventilator and fighting for her life, the Detroit Free Press reports. "I want everybody to understand that. Abigail is strong and she is a vibrant, beautiful young lady. And she did not deserve this," her mother said in a statement Monday night.
  • Kopf's father stressed that they are not holding the incident against the Dalton family, who issued a statement of their own. "There are no words which can express our shock and disbelief, and we are devastated and saddened for the victims and the families of the victims," the Dalton family said. "We cannot comprehend the grief which you are feeling, and, while it seems woefully inadequate, we are deeply sorry and are praying for everyone affected."
  • Dalton, who has been charged with six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, showed no emotion when he appeared in court via video on Monday, CNN reports. During the hearing, investigators testified that Dalton told them he "took people's lives."
  • The motive for the shootings is still a mystery, and Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller tells the AP that it's extremely hard to fathom why anybody would go around shooting strangers at random. "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?'" he says. "They have to think about it for a moment, and they say, 'Probably nothing.'"
(More mass shootings stories.)

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