An Uber driver has been arrested after shooting a passenger dead in the early hours of Friday morning in Denver.
The incident appears to have stemmed from an in-app trip, and Denver Police Department spokesperson Sonny Jackson said it was likely the result of a conflict between the driver, Michael Hancock, and the passenger, according to the Associated Press. Shots were fired shortly before 3 a.m. local time on Interstate 25.
"It appears there was an Uber driver and his passenger got into a conflict inside his vehicle," said Jackson, according to local news outlets. "Shots were exchanged, were fired."
Hancock told a witness that the passenger tried to attack him so he shot him, according to a statement of probable cause provided to local news outlets by the Denver Police Department. The victim was described as an “Asian male” and found lying on the floorboard of the front passenger seat.
Police recovered a semi-automatic handgun from Hancock’s waistband. Uber’s policy does not allow its drivers or riders to carry firearms in the car. Denver police later arrested Hancock, 29, for investigation of first degree murder.
“We are deeply troubled by the events in Denver today,” a spokesperson for Uber said in a statement. “The driver’s access to the app has been removed, and we will continue working closely with police.”
In April, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company was instituting annual criminal background checks for all U.S. drivers. The move came amid concerns that Uber wasn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of its customers.
Hancock had been driving for Uber for three years and was charged with driving under restraint and speeding back in April. He also had several other driving-related convictions, according to ABC-7, a local Denver station.
Both Hancock and the victim, an adult male, were taken to hospital after the shooting. The victim was pronounced dead from gunshot wounds, and Hancock was treated and briefly released.
Hancock reportedly has no relation to the mayor of Denver, whose name is also Michael Hancock.