Shotgun with a shooter: Local man rides with Kalamazoo murder suspect

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local man is counting his blessings after a ride in a Kalamazoo Uber driven by Jason Dalton.

Dalton allegedly shot six people and critically injured two more in Kalamazoo, Mich., Saturday night.

(Provided Photo/Derek)
(Provided Photo/Derek)

The man, asked only to be identified as Derek, was visiting Kalamazoo with his wife and in-laws.

Knowing of the active shooter situation, Derek said they decided to order an Uber instead of walking. That decision put him in the same car as Dalton.

“This morning, the name was released and a picture was released on the news, and we looked at the Uber receipt and it was his face,” Derek said.

He got into the front seat next to Dalton. Derek’s wife and in-laws got in the back.

According to the Uber receipt Derek provided to 24-Hour News 8, the drive was only seven minutes long, but he recalled a conversation with Dalton.

“I said, ‘You’re not the shooter, are you?’ And he said, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, “No, I’m just tired, I’ve been driving for 7 hours.’

His response to my question the second time, ‘Are you sure?’ I thought maybe like he would chuckle or say, ‘No that’s not me, respond to the fact that it’s a joke, and his dry answer was very unsettling.”

Dalton has no known criminal history, and an extensive background check is required of all Uber drivers.

“They check for obvious things like felonies, sexual assaults things of that nature, aggravated battery and then of course on the driving side too they’re really strict about that,” said Alex Merkel, an Indianapolis-based Uber driver.

Merkel has driven for Uber for 2 years. He says the background check is to ensure passengers’ safety and to put them at ease

“It’s people just like you and me going and picking people up, so it seems to be more of a community involved endeavor rather than just some sort of random person picking somebody up,” said Merkel.

Despite his close encounter, Derek said he will continue to use Uber.

Derek and his wife returned safely to Indianapolis Sunday afternoon.

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