(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) — Two friends came close to riding with Michigan Uber driver Jason Dalton during his alleged killing spree, the women told ABC News.
College student Mallory Lemieux was at a bar in Kalamazoo with friend Tori Curtis Saturday night when Lemieux’s dad sent a text, “multiple shootings with people dead … get home please,” she said.
When Lemieux placed an Uber order, the ride-sharing app apparently assigned Dalton, 45, to pick up the women, they said.
But her father had also warned them the police were looking for a suspect in a Chevrolet vehicle.
So when she saw an Uber-assigned Chevrolet drive by, Lemieux panicked. She canceled three times, hoping for another vehicle, but kept getting the same driver, named Jason, she said. The vehicle never stopped to pick them up and they never saw Dalton in person.
The last cancellation was just four minutes before police arrested him, after he had allegedly killed six people and injured two.
“It definitely just makes us feel really lucky that we followed our instinct,” Curtis told ABC News, “and we didn’t get in that car.”
Meanwhile, security images taken from surveillance video, seen by ABC News, appear to show Dalton in the hours before his alleged attacks.
The footage shows Dalton inspecting firearms at a Kalamazoo-area gun shop.
He didn’t buy a gun, the store owner told ABC News, but did purchase a tactical jacket.
“The person that was in here was friendly, talked to us, was smiling, joking around,” store owner Jonathan Southwick said.
It would be less than three hours later, prosecutors say, when Uber driver Dalton went on his shooting spree.
He allegedly shot and injured Abigail Kopf, 14, in the parking lot of a restaurant. Doctors say, at one point, her heart stopped, but she’s now fighting for her life.
Dalton allegedly killed Richard Smith and 17-year-old son Tyler in the parking lot of a car dealership. ABC News has learned Tyler’s teenage girlfriend was also there, hiding in the car and calling 911.
After three separate shootings Saturday, Dalton was charged with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight charges of using a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to Kalamazoo County prosecuting attorney Jeff Getting. He has not yet entered a plea.
Ed Davis of the Uber Safety Advisory Board told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” Monday that there was “no background check that would have identified this man as a problem.”
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