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Sheriff: Don't mess with the Uber driver

An Uber driver killed a man who threatened to shoot him. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd claims the encounter was a "classic stand your ground case."

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 8:15 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 8:44 PM

After a heated text message exchange with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Jason Boek followed an Uber he thought was driving her home and swerved in front of it on a dark stretch of road in central Florida early Tuesday morning, police say.

A dash camera video from the Uber shows Boek, 34, jumping out of a pick-up truck and quickly walking to Uber driver Robert Westlake's Hyundai Elantra.

Holding what authorities said was a cell phone, Boek raised his hand and said: "You know I got a pistol? You want me to f****** shooting you?"

Westlake, 38, is a licensed armed security guard who holds a concealed weapons permit and who had just completed training to be a police officer. He fired once, killing Boek early Tuesday, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

Neither Westlake nor Boek's family members could be reached for comment on Wednesday. The sheriff's office says Westlake is cooperating with the investigation.

The brief encounter was a "classic stand your ground case," Sheriff Grady Judd said. Florida's "stand your ground" law, perhaps the strongest in the country, grants immunity to the person acting in self-defense. The state has to prove that a shooter didn't act in self-defense and is therefore not entitled to immunity.

"This is a justifiable homicide all day long. You have the right protect yourself," Judd said Wednesday, adding "this was the intent of the law."

"Here's a message for the hotheads of the community: Don't do that stuff," the sheriff said. "Good people carry guns and they will shoot you. A lot. Graveyard dead."

Several high-profile "stand your ground" cases in Florida have sparked controversy over the law, including the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged in Martin's death but was eventually acquitted.

Zimmerman did not lean on the "stand our ground law," but claimed self defense. The case cast a spotlight on Florida's stand your ground law and prompted calls to change it.

'He's stalking his girlfriend'

Tuesday's incident started with a case of mistaken identity.

At a bar in Dundee early Tuesday morning, Boek's girlfriend called an Uber for another woman who had too much to drink, and she helped her get out to the car, police said.

Boek saw her and assumed his girlfriend had gotten into the Uber, though she had gone back into the bar, the sheriff said.

Some time afterward, Boek and his girlfriend got into a heated text message exchange.

"The boyfriend is explosive," the sheriff said. "He's stalking his girlfriend. He's angry with her and he tells her 'I'm going to eff up the Uber driver.'"

Judd said Boek drove after the Uber in his truck.

Boek "tailgates him a minute, then he pulls out beside him, rides besides him a couple of seconds .... and then starts to pass him and forces him to a stop in the roadway," Judd said.

About six seconds after Boek jumps out of his pick-up truck, Westlake shoots him, according to the dash cam video released by police.

"Oh my God," Westlake can be heard saying.

'He came towards me'

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Westlake called 911 and tried to save Boek's life.

"He ran me off road, jumped out of his vehicle," Westlake said calmly in the 911 call. "I couldn't get away."

"He came towards me, shouted he's got a pistol, reached for his waistband."

Westlake said he fired one shot from a .40-caliber pistol.

"He dropped a cell phone. I kicked it away," said Westlake, who said he didn't realize it was a cell phone at first.

Westlake told the 911 operator he was applying pressure to the wound, and that Boek was taking faint, shallow breaths.

Boek died at the scene, the sheriff's office said. Judd said authorities did not find a gun other than Westlake's at the scene.

In a statement, Uber said: "We are saddened by this unfortunate incident and will continue to work with police on their investigation."

The company's policy prohibits drivers and passengers from carrying firearms while using the Uber app to the extent permitted by local law.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 497790

Reported Deaths: 9917
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34102530
DeSoto31839398
Hinds31837622
Jackson24314377
Rankin21881388
Lee15427234
Madison14525279
Jones13772241
Forrest13412250
Lauderdale11937314
Lowndes10934185
Lamar10470135
Pearl River9431237
Lafayette8454138
Hancock7697126
Washington7365156
Oktibbeha7111129
Monroe6727174
Warren6642176
Pontotoc6609101
Neshoba6606205
Panola6460131
Marshall6386132
Bolivar6266145
Union596094
Pike5784152
Alcorn5633101
Lincoln5417134
George491879
Scott470998
Tippah465381
Prentiss464181
Leflore4627143
Itawamba4596104
Adams4570119
Tate4546109
Copiah445191
Simpson4421116
Wayne438572
Yazoo438586
Covington427394
Marion4216107
Sunflower4215104
Coahoma4115104
Leake407787
Newton380879
Grenada3692108
Stone358464
Tishomingo356391
Attala330289
Jasper328265
Winston313191
Clay306375
Chickasaw296767
Clarke290694
Calhoun277945
Holmes266987
Smith262550
Yalobusha232647
Tallahatchie225251
Walthall217763
Greene215548
Lawrence211140
Perry204755
Amite203954
Webster201645
Noxubee185340
Montgomery179056
Jefferson Davis170642
Carroll167438
Tunica158639
Benton147438
Kemper141241
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131237
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106227
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 813481

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1139971910
Mobile722271323
Madison51970686
Shelby37279341
Baldwin37069540
Tuscaloosa34934599
Montgomery33953725
Lee23142240
Calhoun22142470
Morgan20639372
Etowah19758496
Marshall18245300
Houston17302405
St. Clair15912337
Cullman15306290
Limestone15202198
Elmore15075284
Lauderdale14143294
Talladega13715272
DeKalb12569259
Walker11085366
Blount10094174
Autauga9893146
Jackson9789180
Coffee9182189
Dale8859181
Colbert8789200
Tallapoosa7044195
Escambia6732127
Covington6682179
Chilton6587160
Russell625958
Franklin5930105
Chambers5559142
Marion4955126
Dallas4882199
Clarke472782
Pike4719105
Geneva4564126
Winston4473101
Lawrence4264117
Bibb421686
Barbour355475
Marengo334089
Monroe330262
Randolph327063
Butler324794
Pickens313882
Henry310965
Hale309187
Cherokee299957
Fayette290679
Washington250951
Cleburne246958
Crenshaw243575
Clay240367
Macon230562
Lamar215846
Conecuh185652
Coosa178538
Lowndes173761
Wilcox167438
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131038
Greene125544
Choctaw86927
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A cold front passing through our area overnight will bring into our area some of the coolest temperatures of the season so far. We will see most of the highs this weekend only in the upper 60s to lower 70s. While overnight lows will drop off down into the 40s Saturday night.
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