Florida Uber Driver Shoots, Kills Armed Would-Be Robber

Police say the driver had a license to carry—but Uber’s rules don’t allow it.

YouTube / CBS Miami

A Florida Uber driver shot and killed a man who was apparently attempting to rob him at gunpoint, according to police. Which means the driver was carrying a firearm even in spite of Uber’s blanket ban on guns.

According to Miami-area news station WPLG Local 10 CBS, the Uber driver—who appears to have been driving a black Toyota Corolla—was crossing the William Lehman Causeway in Aventura while carrying a passenger to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Sunday morning when the incident occurred.  Just before 6 a.m., a gray Dodge Caravan reportedly cut the Uber off; man carrying two guns climbed out of the driver’s side of the van, pointed them at the Uber driver, and demanded items from him, Sgt. Chris Goranitis of the Aventura police told the news station.

However, the apparent would-be criminal was in for a surprise. The Uber driver, according to Goranitis, was legally carrying a firearm of his own; he reportedly fired four shots at the dual-wielding robber, killing him. Neither the ride-hailing driver nor passenger was hurt, according to authorities.

Police said another occupant of the Caravan climbed into the driver’s seat and took off before authorities could arrive. However, police told the news station that they had found a vehicle matching the description of the getaway van as of Sunday night, and were questioning a person of interest who was believed to have been driving it.

Now, normally, we’d be liable to just chalk this up as another week in the Sunshine State, embed that GIF of Bugs Bunny sawing Florida off the mainland, and call it a day. But here’s where things get interesting: As we mentioned last week while discussing Uber’s revised user guidelines, the company has a blanket ban on carrying firearms in its vehicles—both for riders and for drivers. The company makes no bones about it; the term “Firearms Ban” is written out in large font, and placed on equal footing with the company’s bans against discrimination and fraud.

That said, the company does hide a caveat to this rule on a separate part of its website. Click on a small hyperlink in the firearm ban copy, and it brings you to a new page with the following text: “Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and reliable ride. That's why Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms of any kind in a vehicle while using our app.* Anyone who violates this policy may lose access to Uber.”

But at the bottom of that page lies the asterisk’s addendum: * To the extent permitted by applicable law.

In Florida, concealed carry holders are legally allowed to bring their firearms almost everywhere, with the exception of select zones such as courthouses, schools, and places that dispense alcohol. It is also a “stand your ground” state, in which individuals have no duty to retreat from a potential attacker, and can respond with deadly force if they have reason to believe someone intends to cause bodily harm or death to them.

A spokesperson for Uber said the company is aware of the matter and has been in contact with the authorities, and the company is reviewing the incident.