WEATHER AUTHORITY : Flood Advisory View Alerts

Uber driver killed man who threatened him

Jason Boek was shot and killed after he followed and swerved in front of an Uber he thought was driving his girlfriend home on a dark stretch of road in central Florida, police say.

Posted: Sep 1, 2018 10:09 AM
Updated: Sep 1, 2018 10:26 AM

After a heated text message exchange with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Jason Boek followed an Uber he thought was giving her a ride home.

Driving along a dark stretch of two-lane road in central Florida, Boek swerved his pickup truck early Tuesday morning in front of the rideshare car.

Uber driver Robert Westlake slammed on his brakes.

They narrowly avoided a crash and stopped in the middle of the roadway.

Then, Boek jumped out of his truck and quickly walked toward Westlake's Hyundai Elantra.

"You know I got a pistol?" Boek said, holding an object in the air. "You want me to f****** shoot you?"

Bang. With one shot, the Uber driver killed him.

The fatal confrontation, captured on Westlake's dash camera, was what the Polk County sheriff called a "classic 'stand your ground' case," referring to the controversial Florida law that grants immunity to people acting in self-defense.

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

But the incident still left Westlake, 38, shaken up and filled with doubt.

"Everybody tells me what I did was right, but you feel like, 'did I have to?' after the fact," he told CNN affiliate WFTS.

"I wish the whole chain of events didn't happen," he added.

Boek, 34, didn't actually have a firearm when he left his truck -- he was holding a cell phone, authorities said.

And Westlake was no ordinary Uber driver. He's a licensed armed security guard who holds a concealed weapon permit and who had just completed training to be a police officer.

"All that went through my head was I'm not getting shot and that's when I popped up," he said.

In a text message to CNN, Westlake expressed condolences to Boek's family.

The sheriff's office said Westlake is cooperating with the investigation. And the sheriff wanted this much to be clear: "Here's a message for the hotheads of the community: Don't do that stuff," Judd said. "Good people carry guns and they will shoot you. A lot. Graveyard dead."

Boek's family members could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said Thursday it is not planning to bring a case against Westlake, but the investigation remains open pending the results of Boek's autopsy. The sheriff's office said the findings will be forwarded to the Office of State Attorney Brian Haas, whose jurisdiction includes Polk County.

Assistant State Attorney Jacob Orr said prosecutors will review the investigation. He declined to comment further.

'He's stalking his girlfriend'

The shooting is the latest high-profile "stand your ground" case to spark controversy. The list includes the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, and Michael Drejka's fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton in July in a convenience store parking lot.

Zimmerman was acquitted in Martin's death after claiming self-defense, rather than leaning on the "stand your ground" law. Drejka was initially let go but has since been charged with manslaughter.

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

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

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

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

"The boyfriend is explosive," Judd, 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.'"

Then, Boek drove after the Uber in his truck, Judd said.

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 jumped out of his pick-up truck, Westlake shot him, according to the dash-cam video released by police.

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

'He came towards me'

Westlake then dialed 911 and tried to save Boek, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

"He ran me off road, jumped out of his vehicle," Westlake said calmly in the 911 call, which the sheriff's office posted to YouTube. "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 as Boek took faint, shallow breaths.

"I thought for a moment that I hit it in a spot where he could survive. I thought for a moment after doing compressions (that) I had him back," he told WFTS.

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

"Everything I do now I'm going to be reminded that this other person doesn't get to do it. So it's hard to enjoy some things," Westlake said.

Uber, in a statement, 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.

Westlake has been suspended from using the app, Uber said. The company said it will evaluate his status after he submits a letter from law enforcement indicating that he is not a suspect or been charged in the shooting, the company said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Columbus
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Oxford
Mostly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 38°
Starkville
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 39°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather