The Uber driver accused of killing six people and wounding two others during a shooting spree across Kalamazoo, Michigan, last month told investigators that the ride-sharing app had turned him into a “puppet” who had no control over his mind or body during the deadly rampage.
Documents released on Monday by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety provide new details concerning the mindset of 45-year-old Jason Dalton after he allegedly embarked on a hourslong crime wave across the region on the night of Feb. 20.
In interviews conducted by investigators shortly after he was arrested, the Uber driver reportedly told detectives that he was driven to kill after a demonic figure spoke to him through his iPhone app on the night of the shootings.
“Dalton described the devil figure as a horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body,” police wrote in reports obtained by the Detroit Free Press.
“Dalton then told us that it feels like it is coming from the phone itself, and he didn’t know how to describe that,” the report continues. “… Dalton said that as he was sitting there with us, it was almost like artificial intelligence that can tap into your body.”
“Dalton said it would take you over to the point that you are like a puppet,” the report said. “Dalton said that he was afraid that maybe he could’ve killed his family.”
Elsewhere during the interviews, the suspect reportedly told investigators the app had taken over his “mind and body,” and that he had no control over himself as he opened fire at three different locations over the course of five hours.
“Dalton said that … the really weird thing is that he never even aimed,” one investigator recalled. “Dalton then extended his right arm straight out and moved it from side to side and said that he remembered that it just sort of had him, and it was directing him as he was shooting.”
“I asked Dalton if he remembered pulling the trigger and Dalton said that he did not … and he just remembers feeling the percussion of the gunshots,” one detective wrote in the report.
Police have charged the Uber driver with six counts of murder and two counts of assault with intent to murder as a result of the rampage. Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting told reporters earlier this month that the suspect has been ordered to undergo a mental competency examination to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
“It is an important due-process right for all persons charged with an offense,” Mr. Getting said at the time. “It is important to proceed fairly against a defendant when they are capable to understand the nature of what is happening and so they can provide assistance to their attorney to defend the case. We don’t want to move forward in the criminal justice system against a person who doesn’t know what is happening to them.”