EXCLUSIVE: Lyft driver speaks out for first time about why he opened fire on passengers
For the first time and only to CBS 58 News, a local Lyft driver is talking about why he opened fire on fleeing passengers last Wednesday.
"In the heat of the moment, when you're put in that position, I want you to know how it feels," said the Army Veteran who asked CBS 58 to not show his face.
He still feels threatened and after being tried in the court of public opinion is trying to avoid retaliation but wants viewers to know he legitimately felt in danger.
He says there were several red flags before he made the decision to pull out his gun.
One man called for a ride, but three others jumped in at the last minute when he arrived.
They asked him how much money he made and changed their destination to a darkened area behind a building.
And then there was a sound he heard from the back seat.
"That's when I heard a ping in the backseat. Metal on metal makes a distinct sound. I'm very familiar with that sound. I'm on high alert. I'm in survival mode. I'm thinking this is not good."
When asked by anchor Michele McCormack if he saw a gun, the driver said: "When I heard the ping, I looked in the rearview mirror. It looked like he was stuffing back in his coat."
At that point, he made the decision to drive towards a security car near the Brookfield Mall.
His passengers were trying to get out of the car while it was moving, but not until he put the car in park did the doors unlock and all four bailed out.
"I got out the same time they did. I turned around. I had my firearm concealed. I turned around. I already had a round chambered. I fired four shots down range. I could have hit them easily. I didn't shoot to hit anyone. I wanted to scare the s*** out of them because I didn't want to get shot myself."
When asked why he felt the need to open fire if they were running away, the driver was matter-of-fact.
"When you're in that position and you're outnumbered by four, you want to make sure they get the message to keep running."