Polk County (Florida) Sheriff Grady Judd called the shooting of Jason Boek, 34, a “classic stand your ground” case and one of “justifiable homicide.”
Just after 2 a.m., Wednesday, a woman called an Uber for another woman who was intoxicated at a Winter Haven bar. The Uber driver, Robert Westlake, 38, was driving the woman home, police identified her as “drunk Jasmine,” when a Ford pickup truck attempted to drive the Uber, a Hyundai Elanatra, off the road. The truck driven by Boek overtakes and then cuts in front of Westlake’s car and suddenly stops. Boek jumps out of the truck and heads for the driver side of the Uber.
Westlake shouts “I say somethin’?”
Boek walks toward the car pointing something in his hand at Westlake, later found to be a cellphone, and shouts: “You know I have a pistol? You want me to fuc*ing shoot you?” He’s a few feet away from the driver’s side of the car. Next, a single gunshot. Westlake shot Boek in the chest.
“Oh my god,” Westlake and the woman in the can be heard saying. One can also hear: “I didn’t shoot you.” On the video police have transcribed it reads: Inaudible,” but the phrase can be clearly heard. What’s not clear is who is saying it.
Judd said in a Wednesday morning Facebook Live video statement on the incident that “people should leave people alone.”
“Leave people alone. Good people are gonna shoot. Good people carry guns. They will shoot you graveyard dead,” Judd said adding Westlake “did exactly the right thing.”
“It’s a new day in America.”
It turns out this was no random case of road rage.
According to PCSO investigators, a woman called for an Uber to drive her home from the Grove Lounge in Dundee, a central Florida town, because she had been drinking. Another woman at the bar walked her out to the Uber when it arrived, the sheriff’s department said adding the women did not know each other. But that woman, the helpful patron, “began receiving text messages from her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Boek, that indicated he thought she got into the Hyundai; Boek told her he was going to pursue the Uber and then beat up the man driving. It appears Boek saw his girlfriend walk out to the Hyundai, and thought she – not the other bar patron – was inside,” a PCSO statement reads.
The sheriff’s office provided the following text messages between “Boek (blue) to his on-again, off-again girlfriend (gray) just prior to the shooting – Boek apparently thinks his girlfriend is in the Uber.”
Boek was driving a Ford F-250 truck and he was after Uber driver Westlake’s car, which is equipped with a dash cam. Westlake, who police said is a “concealed weapon permit holder and a licensed armed security guard” shot Boek.
Westlake called 911 and “began lifesaving measures.”
Here’s a YouTube video police released that provides audio-only of the 911 call.
In the audio Westlake appears to sound calm and describes what occurred as he applies pressure to where Boek was shot; “square center of the chest sternum,” Westlake says.
Judd said Westlake will not be charged calling the shooting a “justifiable homicide.”
But CNN reported that Uber suspended Westlake until he can show he’s not a suspect or being charged in the shooting.
Police said Boek’s criminal history includes previous arrests for aggravated battery, battery, burglary, marijuana possession, forgery, larceny, resisting arrest, and parole or probation violation; Boek at the time of his death was on “felony probation for battery, which began in June 2016 and was scheduled to end in June 2021.” Police said his driver’s license was suspended in May 2018.
Judd added the truck Boek was driving was borrowed it from a friend. Deputies “obtained a search warrant for the truck Boek was driving and recovered a marijuana cigarette, and a glass pipe containing meth residue.”
Westlake recently completed police academy training, Judd said. The security guard and police officer-hopeful told WFLA he also drives for Lyft but it too has let him go.
“I have to quickly figure out something else,” he was quoted as saying.