Uber driver charged in fatal shooting of passenger in Denver

An Uber driver has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a passenger, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

Michael Andre Hancock, 29, is accused of shooting Hyun Kim, 45, early on the morning of June 1.

His first appearance in district court is scheduled for June 12. It is unclear whether he has an attorney. CNN has reached out to the public defender’s office to see if it is representing him. He is being held in county jail without bond, according to online inmate records.

A woman who identified herself to CNN affiliate KMGH as Hancock’s wife told the Denver-based station earlier this week that he was acting in self-defense.

“We know that 100%,” she said. The woman told KMGH that they needed a lawyer for her husband.

According to a probable cause statement released by police, 911 received a call at about 2:45 a.m. on Friday from a man on an Interstate 25 on-ramp, who said: “There was a guy, an Uber driver, who said his ride tried to attack him and the driver shot him.”

Police arrived and found a man lying on the front seat floorboard of a Nissan sedan with gunshot wounds, the statement said. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, said Sonny Jackson of the Denver police.

Investigators found 10 .40-caliber cartridges on the left shoulder of the interstate, and a blood trail near the cartridges that was consistent with where the vehicle came to a stop on the on-ramp, the statement said.

Hancock was handcuffed and police found a Ruger SR40 pistol in his waistband, police said.

He declined to make a statement to police without a lawyer, the statement said.

“We are deeply troubled by the events in Denver today,” Uber said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the families of those involved. The driver’s access to the app has been removed, and we will continue working closely with police.”

Andrew Hasbun, an Uber spokesman, said Hancock had been driving nearly three years for the ride-sharing company. The incident appears to be associated with an on-app trip, he said.

Uber’s website says riders and drivers are prohibited from carrying firearms in a vehicle while using the Uber app, “to the extent permitted by applicable law.”

Hasbun said some states have laws that prohibit companies from telling people where they can and cannot carry firearms. However, Uber thinks its weapons policy applies in Colorado, he said.

Last year, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission fined Uber $8.9 million for allowing drivers with “disqualifying” criminal or motor vehicle offenses to drive for the company. Some of them did not have valid licenses and others used fake names, the agency revealed.