A Florida Uber driver has been reportedly suspended pending a police investigation after he broke the company’s anti-gun policy and shot a passenger who was allegedly choking him during an argument.
Clearwater police are investigating after the passenger in an Uber vehicle was allegedly shot Sunday night during an altercation with the driver, 74-year-old Steven Rayow. Passenger Marc Memel, 60, was shot in the foot and treated and released from a local hospital, a local NBC affiliate reported.
“There was a gentleman sitting in his car and there was like blood dripping out of the car so I was concerned what was going on,” Justin Smith, who works at Union Burger on Mandalay Avenue, told the station. “I came back inside to get a couple of rags to just to make sure he wasn’t bleeding out or anything, but it wasn’t nothing like vital.”
Police spokesman Rob Shaw said: “The driver basically told us that the passenger started choking him. He had his hands around his neck, and in fear of losing consciousness, that’s when the driver of the car pulled out a gun, and in the ensuing struggle, that gun went off.”
Police said Mr. Rayow is a retired New York City Police officer and has a concealed weapons permit.
A new Uber policy prohibits riders or drivers from possessing a gun. An Uber spokesman said Mr. Rayow’s access to the Uber platform has been removed, NBC reported.
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Sunday’s incident is a glaring example of why Uber needs to be regulated, with drivers getting a level 2 background check, Public Transportation Commission Executive Director Kyle Cockream told NBC.