STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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: 315026

Reported Deaths: 7257
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21684260
Hinds20385416
Harrison17973309
Rankin13650278
Jackson13456246
Madison10130217
Lee9988174
Jones8388163
Forrest7701152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6411148
Lamar624686
Lafayette6210119
Washington5342134
Bolivar4804132
Oktibbeha463298
Panola4601107
Pearl River4524146
Marshall4454103
Warren4397121
Pontotoc421172
Monroe4120133
Union411276
Neshoba4033176
Lincoln3972110
Hancock380287
Leflore3500125
Sunflower336490
Tate335484
Pike3330105
Scott316773
Alcorn313670
Yazoo311870
Itawamba300877
Copiah297865
Coahoma295979
Simpson295388
Tippah289068
Adams288682
Prentiss280360
Marion269680
Leake268673
Wayne262941
Grenada261987
Covington260381
George249448
Newton246963
Winston227881
Tishomingo227567
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208457
Holmes189174
Clay185654
Stone183033
Tallahatchie179041
Clarke178180
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164838
Smith162734
Walthall134345
Greene130633
Lawrence129324
Montgomery127242
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121929
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107233
Tunica105726
Claiborne102530
Benton100125
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67631
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 540267

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798791529
Mobile41295809
Madison35175506
Tuscaloosa25932455
Shelby25309249
Montgomery24736593
Baldwin21422310
Lee15997172
Calhoun14577319
Morgan14431280
Etowah13927353
Marshall12280225
Houston10650282
Elmore10158206
Limestone10075151
St. Clair9955245
Cullman9773194
Lauderdale9465243
DeKalb8866188
Talladega8344176
Walker7261278
Autauga7010108
Jackson6840112
Blount6776139
Colbert6322135
Coffee5583118
Dale4878113
Russell445938
Chilton4383113
Franklin426382
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia395177
Chambers3598123
Dallas3569153
Clarke351561
Marion3140101
Pike312077
Lawrence303698
Winston275873
Bibb264864
Geneva254178
Marengo249865
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale224078
Butler219069
Fayette213162
Henry190043
Cherokee184845
Randolph182542
Monroe178241
Washington167839
Macon161350
Clay157257
Crenshaw153657
Cleburne149641
Lamar143336
Lowndes140753
Wilcox127430
Bullock123342
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter105032
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Your Tuesday comes with more clouds and rain chances, though a few areas of sunshine and warmth are possible at times in the afternoon. Though all areas could see some rain today, the majority of this rainfall will be found in our western counties.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather