Michael Hancock, an Uber driver in Denver, Colorado, is accused in the shooting death of his passenger while driving along the interstate. He claims he was attacked by the passenger, reports say.
Details of what happened are still being pieced together, but Hancock, a student at the Art Institute of Colorado, is now under arrest and being investigated for accusations of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting, which occurred along Interstate 25 early in the morning of June 1, 2018. “29 YO Michael Hancock has been arrested for investigation of first degree murder for the early morning shooting on I-25” and University, Denver police tweeted.
Hancock’s wife told Heavy: “Michael has been driving for Uber for over 3 years. He had NOTHING but positive reviews with 4.9 stars. I pray Uber will speak on Michael’s positive driving history with them. Michael, my husband was attacked. Michael is the best husband in the world. He is so attentive and loving to my sons and I. We have been married for 6 years. Our anniversary is this month including Fathers day. We just want Michael home after all he’s been through. Michael is also a community leader I have tons of letters from younger people, school peers and other Uber drivers who were touched by him(he is a councilor for troubled youth, artist, student). We want him home!!!”
The passenger was identified as Hyun Soo Kim, 45. The driver was charged with first-degree murder.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say a ‘Conflict’ Occurred Between the Passenger & Uber Driver
Denver police provided some details in a news conference. “There appears to be a conflict between an Uber driver and his passenger. The passenger did suffer gunshot wound or wounds and was transported to the hospital where subsequently he was pronounced dead a short time later,” Denver Police Department public information officer Sonny Jackson said.
He confirmed that the driver worked for Uber. “We’re going to determine if he was on a ride, what the relationship was between what appears to be a passenger and the driver, but I don’t think any relationship prior to this particular run,” Jackson said. It’s not yet known whether the passenger was also armed or what the conflict was specifically about.
The 29-year-old driver also goes by the name of Michael Andre Hancock. He does not have a previous Colorado criminal history. The Denver Police Department is seeking witnesses who might have been on I-25 at the time of the shooting, which closed the freeway. “Homicide on I25 expect SB I25 at University to be closed thru rush hour due to large scene with evidence. All ptys involved are accounted for. Any witnesses on I25 between 230-245 am please call with information,” police wrote on Twitter.
Police confirmed: “#UPDATE on shooting. 1 adult male has been pronounced deceased. SB I25 will remain closed for the investigation. Find alternate routes.”
2. Hancock Works as a Youth Counselor & Friends Praise His Personality
Michael Hancock’s mother spoke to 9NEWS in Denver and revealed that her son works as a counselor in a youth group home. As with many Uber drivers, Hancock was driving for the ride sharing service to make some extra money on the side.
The mother said her son is a hard-working married father.
“He’s a husband, a father, a college student. He works two jobs,” Stephanie Hancock told 9NEWS. “It’s a terrible, terrible thing that happened. We don’t know anything else.”
Stephanie Hancock also sent a statement to Heavy. “This is a tragic story,” she wrote. “Michael is a son, husband father college student working two jobs to support his family. We are devout Christians and my son is a loving caring person. Many would speak to his character. We don’t know any details.We pray for a speedy resolution to this matter. Our hearts go out to the man who lost his life and his family.”
According to 9NEWS, the victim was found “on the floorboard of the front passenger seat suffering from gunshot wounds.”
Friends have come to Hancock’s defense. “He’s very sweet,” Hancock’s friend, Ellisia Pagan, said to Fox 31 Denver. “I wouldn’t know him to be negative to anybody.” He has no criminal history in Colorado, according to The Washington Post.
3. Hancock Has a Concealed Carry Permit, His Mother Says & He’s In College
Hancock’s mother also told 9NEWS that her son has a concealed carry permit. That’s because he used to work as a security guard, she said. She also told the Denver television station that Michael Hancock was attending college but didn’t specify which school.
Uber’s website carries a firearm policy that bans both drivers and passengers from carrying firearms during rides. “Uber prohibits riders and their guests, as well as driver and delivery partners, from carrying firearms of any kind while using the app, to the extent permitted by applicable law,” the website policy reads.
“Please note that the only situation where we would allow a firearm while using the app is if you are transporting your firearm in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration rules for transporting firearms and ammunition. That means your firearm must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container in the trunk of the vehicle. All parts, including magazines, clips, ammunition, and bolts and firing pins must also be transported in the trunk of the vehicle.”
Fox31 described Hancock as a devout Christian.
4. Police Found 10 Bullet Cartridges at the Scene & Hancock Alleged the Passenger ‘Tried to Attack Him’
According to the Denver Post, the passenger was shot multiple times in the 2:45 a.m. shooting, and the driver is also accused of crashing the car. “Ten bullet cartridges were found at the scene of the shooting,” the newspaper reported.
The Post obtained a probable cause statement and revealed that a passerby called 911 and told police that Hancock, an Uber driver, “said his ride tried to attack him and the driver shot him.” The gun involved was a Ruger SR40, according to The Post.
5. Uber Was Previously Fined Millions of Dollars in Colorado for Allegedly Not Properly Doing Background Checks
Uber has found itself under increasing scrutiny in Colorado over its drivers. According to Denverite, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission fined Uber’s parent company $8.9 million in 2017.
The fine was issued for alleged faulty background checks. “Uber was allowing people with disqualifying criminal or motor vehicle offenses and people without valid licenses to drive for the company,” Denverite reported.
The commission had started its investigation after an Uber driver was accused of assaulting a passenger in Vail.