Uber driver fatally shoots man who was threatening him, deputies say
WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - The shooting of a Winter Haven man by an Uber driver who was being threatened was a "classic case of Stand Your Ground," the Polk County sheriff said Wednesday.
Polk County deputies said the shooting investigation began around 2:20 a.m. Tuesday. They said the driver shot a man who was pursuing him on Dundee Road and making threats. The incident occurred just east of Carl Floyd Road and County Road 550.
Deputies say earlier in the evening, a woman helped a female patron who was intoxicated at a bar in Dundee get an Uber ride home. The women did not know each other, but the woman who was assisting the intoxicated woman was receiving threatening messages from her boyfriend, identified as Jason Boek, 34.
Sheriff Judd said Boek was "explosive" and stalking his girlfriend at the bar and texted her that he was going to pursue the Uber driver and beat him up. He believed he had seen her get into the Uber, Judd said.
A Ford F-150 driven by Boek is seen on dashcam video pulling up alongside of the Uber driver and stopping in front of him forcing him to stop.
Boek, believing his girlfriend was in the car, threatened the Uber driver and told him he had a pistol, Judd said, and then made a motion to his waistband and pulled out an object, which later turned out to be a cell phone.
The Uber driver, identified as Robert Westlake, 38, pulled out his handgun and fired a shot at the driver. Judd said Westlake is a concealed weapon permit holder and had recently graduated from the police academy.
"This is a justifiable homicide all day long," said Sheriff Judd. "You have the right to protect yourself.
This is a classic 'Stand Your Ground' case. This was the intent of the law," he said.
The bar patron was still sitting in the back seat at the time of the shooting and had no relationship to Boek or the woman who helped her get the Uber, Judd said.
After the shooting, Westlake called 911, tried to contain the bleeding and performed CPR on him.
Judd said Boek's criminal history included arrests for aggravated battery, burglary, and drug charges. He was also driving the truck on a suspended license.
Westlake does not face charges in the incident, but the sheriff's office is continuing to investigate.