According to CBS News, a Florida Uber driver will not face charges for the fatal shooting of another driver. Dashcam footage from the Uber driver’s vehicle was released on Tuesday by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and shows the confrontation.
The video shows Jason Boek approach the vehicle and apparently threaten Robert Westlake before he shot Boek. According to the sheriff, Boek believed his girlfriend was inside the vehicle which is why he tried to force it off the road.
Boek stopped in front of Westlake, got out of his vehicle, and used a cellphone like a handgun as he approached the Uber driver’s car. The footage shows Boek yelling, “You know I got a pistol? You want me to shoot you?” Westlake fired one shot from a 40-caliber pistol. After the shooting, Westlake called 911 as he tried to revive Boek.
The incident is being considered a “stand your ground” case. Sheriff Grady Judd said, “This is a justifiable homicide all day long.”
Westlake told the 911 dispatcher, “He ran me off the road, jumped out of his vehicle. I couldn’t get away. He came towards me shouting he’s got a pistol. Reached toward his waistband. I’m applying pressure to the wound. He’s faintly breathing.” Westlake said Boek dropped the cell phone and he kicked it away and at first he didn’t realize it was a cell phone.
CNN reports that the incident can all be traced back to a case of mistaken identity that all started on Tuesday morning. Boek and his estranged girlfriend, Jessica Mazzarella, were drinking at a bar in Dundee when they got into a fight. Boek left but was still watching the bar. Mazzarella was texting with Boek while also helping a bartender get a customer into an Uber. Boek followed the Uber driver thinking Mazzarella was in the car, but he was mistaken.
He planned on assaulting the Uber driver. But according to police, the driver, Westlake, is a recent police academy graduate and was armed with a legally concealed handgun.
Judd said, “Here’s a message for the hotheads of the community: Don’t do that stuff. Good people carry guns, and they will shoot you a lot. Graveyard dead.”
Boek died on scene. Authorities did not find a gun other than Westlake’s. In a statement, Uber said, “We are saddened by this unfortunate incident and will continue to work with police on their investigation.”
Currently, the company prohibits both drivers and passengers from carrying firearms while using Uber to the extent permitted by local law.