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Ride sharing service UBER has officially designated their vehicles as gun-free zones. Neither drivers nor passenger may carry under penalty of being banned from the service. But that doesn’t mean it’s not done. Driver who pick up fares, sometimes in the early morning hours naturally want the ability to protect themselves. And while UBER does criminal background checks on all of its divers, you never know who’s behind the wheel of the car that’s picking you up.

When Michael Hancock picked up a fare in Denver well after midnight on Friday, though, he was packing a .40 caliber pistol. The fare got into the front passenger seat and at some point, things went horribly wrong.

According to the probable cause statement released by DPD, a male witness called 911 and said he saw a man slumped over in the passenger seat of a silver sedan on the side of the road. The witness said the driver told him he was an Uber driver and his passenger tried to attack him, so he shot the passenger. The witness then handed the phone to the driver, who identified himself as Hancock.

Police later found ten .40 caliber casings at the scene.

Hancock was placed into handcuffs and an officer removed a semiautomatic pistol from his waistband, according to the statement from DPD.

Hancock was also taken to a hospital because he said he was having trouble breathing.

Multiple reports say Hancock, who had been an UBER driver for three years, refused to comment at the scene until he had an attorney present. A smart move for anyone involved in a defensive gun use.

Police, however, aren’t so sure how defensive the shooting was.

Hancock obviously violated UBER’s gun-free zone policy and won’t be driving for the company any more. But that’s a small price to pay for protecting yourself from a violent passenger. Assuming, of course, that’s what really happened.

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    • A guy that has been an Uber driver for 3 years with no issues that anyone is aware of, I’m sure Uber does a background check to make sure that drivers are responsible, law-abiding and don’t have a criminal record,, ends up shooting some passenger because he claims it was for self-defense.

      Just off the bat, I’d give the Uber driver the benefit of the doubt. I mean, if our Uber driver had had these kind of tendencies, shooting passengers on a whim, he probably would have shown them sooner than in 3 years time.

      • I’ve been driving for just under 3 years. Over 6k rides given and a 4.96 rating. The times where I’ve felt like there could have been real trouble I can count on 1 hand. I still always carry. I also give benefit of the doubt to the driver. The 10 shots fired may be a problem for him, though.

        • From what I’ve heard (never having been in the situation myself) many people in a defensive shooting basically empty their gun when the shooting starts. Fear, freak out, massive adrenaline dump, and empty the gun.

          Many police involved shooting involve ten or more shots fired.

          I don’t know if the ten rounds means anything.

        • Yep Bart! Most people,cops included, don’t remember how many shots they fired, the Fog of War being what it is.

        • Like the post above said, not enough info.
          Ten empty cases does not equal ten bullets in the body. At the close distance of being in the car seat next to you – I can easily imagine several shots going wild as they wrestled over the gun until one hits home.

      • Uber management doesn’t die if they pick up a criminal. Does Uber do a criminal background check of passengers?
        Regular taxi drivers are often robbed and even murdered. Driving your own car for Uber and Uber doing a credit check on a passenger doesn’t guarantee that the person who made teh phone call isn’t using a stolen phone and name.
        I have removed Uber from my phone, I’d rather walk than pick up strangers or call Uber for a ride from a stranger.

  1. Headline should read “Former Uber driver”. 🙂

    When Uber terminates their relationship with a driver for violating their terms of service, do they pay him what he’s owed, or do they confiscate any of his money they have in their possession, as if they were Intuit?

  2. On the 2 or 3 times I’ve used Uber. I’m armed. I don’t care what their policy is………I use them when and if no other means is available .

  3. Ten rounds of .40 inside a small car would sure put a dent in your hearing.

    • My ears still ring since. It used to be hard to sleep at night without turning on some music.

  4. “Hancock was also taken to a hospital because he said he was having trouble breathing…”

    Oooh, someone has seen some of those ‘brilliant’ ideas on gun forums that say you should fake a need to go to the hospital when the police arrive. Anyone who actually believes that ‘I need to to the hospital’ thing will do anything useful is deeply ill-informed, of course, as shown by his arrest for murder 1.

    The NUMBER 1 item that an Uber driver should have is a dashcam, ideally with reverse capture as well. No idea if he had one, but if so this would be cleared up quite a bit easier.

    • Sorry, but after dumping 10 rounds at close quarters, you NEED to go to the hospital to be checked out. You could have shot yourself and you may not know. You are going to be arrested no matter what you do. I do agree about the dash cam.

      • If you are legit having medical isues… okay, do what you feel you need to. That said, I have seen a lot of “e-lawyer” posts that basically say it’s your ticket to not talking to the police. Which could be achieved just as easily without the hospital trip that, in some ways, can make the police have to decide to arrest you quickly because otherwise you would be leaving their custody (then considered a detainment).

        I know it’s a weird example in retrospect but I always think that George Zimmerman’s actions directly after the shooting- where he cooperated and gave the police evidence to exculpate himself (by showing that he was attacked, etc) is a good example of how you can give yourself a leg up after a justified shoot. His cooperation and the tapes of the interview helped with the jury. But of course that won’t always work so sometimes the best tactic is to accept that you’re getting arrested and wait for a lawyer.

        As a poster said above… not enough info here to come to any real conclusion as to what happened here. It could be that there IS a dashcam that couldn’t be viewed without a warrant.

        • Court rules often prohibit what you say from being used in your favor at trial. What you say can and will be used against you, not for you. Zimmerman’s cooperation was the one thing that nearly got him convicted. I observed every single minute of the trial live, as it happened. He would’ve had less problems had he not been so cooperative.

      • I agree. Poor guy is probably deaf now. Yes, we do need to know more. Even if it’s too early to comment, I enjoy reading all the comments from those who had a close call like this guy did.

    • You’ve obviously never discharged in close quarters. First, your hearing is likely gone. 10 shots and hes not only deaf, but will probably be in pain for the near future. A rupture is highly likely. Second, there is the crap in the air. Even discounting gun smoke in a non circulatory enviroment, just the fact that bullets are punching through stuff tends to put all sorts of fine particulate matter in the air. Fragmentation of material can act as light shrapnel, cutting nearby individuals. Hell, there is even shock.

      Im not going to speculate, but there are a lot of legitimate reasons to opt for the hospital, not to mention the potential to cover future insurance claims with a paper trail.

      • Atomized blood with Hep C or AIDS is always possibility in close quarters.
        Ten shots may have been necessary since a gun and trigger finger can move awfully fast and handgun bullets have to hit something very vital to stop an attack instantly.
        Brain and spinal cord are about it for instant “stop.” In a car most likely bullets hit legs and arms or maybe nothing at all except the car.
        If DPD investigates properly they will account for every bullet and every bullet wound. They will do background checks on the driver and passenger.
        The picture shows a driver with tats. Was he a former gang member? Did he have a Colorado carry license? If so he had a clean record.
        What about the dead guy?

  5. 10 rounds…I guess he was uber armed! Usually these things have camera evidence. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  6. When more facts are known, my guess is that we will find that the “passenger” had some kind of ill intent. Ten shots from that close may come back to haunt him though.

  7. Out of the 10 rounds fired, how many actually hit the other man?

    • And where did they hit and in what order. Exactly what kind of 40 caliber? 40 S&W or 10mm? Solids or JHP or GLASERS?
      Were all ten empty cartridge cases fired that night or were they old cases left over from a trip to the shooting range and not yet cleaned up. If DPD CSI is any good they will get answers to those questions and more.

  8. Color me suspicious. My dad’s older brother was s cabby. He also was a numbers courier for mob. Driving a cab is a great cover for other kinds of business. Just because he has a clean record doesn’t mean he is clean. Even if it was a legitimate defensive shooting somebody might have been unhappy with his other work performance.

    • True but there have been plenty of examples where uber drivers were robbed, shot, etc which could also explain the circumstances.

    • Well, if one person who drove a cab for a living did something illegal at the same time, we should probably assume everyone else does. It’s not like people try to rob Uber drivers, delivery guys, etc. on a regular basis.

      I’m going to stick with innocent until proven guilty in court.

      • The alledged assailant must be the only middle aged Korean can jacket in North America. /Sarc

  9. Mamma said don’t talk to strangers and don’t get in to a stranger’s car.

    Now, we are supposed to call a stranger and get in his car???? F that.

    And yeah, Ubers “background checks” have failed miserably before.

  10. Uber, gun-free zones, background checks….. all a bunch of whatever that I am sure is interesting but doesn’t really mean much to anyone but the jury.

    What I am wondering is why 10 rounds? This is inside of a car, that is really close quarters…..

    There is a lot more to this story, I hope to hear more someday.

    • We had a string of at least three Anchorage cab drivers murdered by a passenger/robber with a .22 pistol in 1998. When I went to my first CCW class there, one of the other students was a cabby getting his permit because of the killings. They ended up mandating bullet resistant windows behind all the drivers as a result. Not sure if they ever caught the killer.

  11. I’m rather surprised by some of the comments regarding this guy. A married father of two with no criminal record whatsoever, HS grad, college student, concealed carry permit holder, volunteers at a school for at-risk boys, sure sounds like the typical “young black male” we read so much about/sarc.

    He’s being held w/o bail, despite the fact that no charges have been filed against him. “Investigation for first degree murder” isn’t a criminal charge. It seems that he’s being held for no other reason than he was wise enough to wait for an attorney before giving any statement, which is his 5th amendment right. Denver and Boulder are probably the two most anti-gun areas in Colorado, why give a statement when you’re stressed out and chock full of adrenaline?

    I hope a solid 2A attorney steps up and provides him with counsel. He deserves the presumption of innocence at this point.

    • Whatever the case might be, it’s odd that a middle age Korean man would do something that would require him to be killed.

      Is it possible!?

    • The interesting thing is that in Denver recently there was an FBI agent that shot someone in a club after going all dance dance revolution, losing his weapon, and then picking it back up. I’m guessing it’s standard fed policy to pick up your side arm trigger first. Anyway he shoots a guy and then is released to his FBI buddies with no charges. Denver is turning out to be quite the liberal paradise.

  12. I’d rather lose my ability to drive with Uber than the alternative.

    Guess we will have to wait and see what happens with Mr. Hancock. Whatever the case may be: let’s hope justice prevails.

  13. Held w/o bail or charges is a violation of civil rights to due process.
    Colorado law might provide immunity from arrest in cases of self-defense.
    Was the car in motion when hte attack began? Colorado law does include fists as deadly weapons when attacked. Being attacked while your car is “in motion” or just sitting belted and locked in can be deadly.

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