WATCH: ‘This is a justifiable homicide all day long,’ Says Sheriff on Uber Driver’s Use of Deadly Force

Jason Boek, 34, was fatally shot after threatening 38-year-old Robert Westlake.  (Photo: ABC Action News)

A Florida Uber driver’s split-second decision to use deadly force last week against an enraged motorist was justified, say local authorities.

Footage captured on 38-year-old Robert Westlake’s dash cam tells the tale. It shows 34-year-old Jason Boek approach the ride-share driver and verbally threaten him, after using his truck to force Westlake’s Hyundai Elantra to a complete stop on the side of the road.

“You know I got a pistol?” An angry Boek says, holding an object, as he marches toward a confused Westlake. “You want me to f****** shoot you?”

Fearing for his life, Westlake fired a single shot from his .40-caliber pistol.

“All that went through my head was I’m not getting shot and that’s when I popped up,” Westlake Told ABC Action News.

Text messaging recovered by investigators indicated that Boek was feuding with his girlfriend that night. He mistakenly believed that Westlake had picked her up when, in fact, she had called the Uber for a friend who had too much to drink.

“The boyfriend is explosive,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “He’s stalking his girlfriend. He’s angry with her, and he tells her, ‘I’m going to eff up the Uber driver.'”

Boek “tailgates him a minute, then he pulls out beside him, rides besides him a couple of seconds … and then starts to pass him and forces him to a stop in the roadway,” explained Judd.

Approximately six seconds after stopping Westlake, Boek would be on the ground fighting for his life.  He would not make it.

Authorities said that Boek did not have a weapon on his person. That it was a cell phone in his hand. But there was no way for Westlake to know that.

“I thought for a moment that I hit it in a spot where he could survive. I thought for a moment after doing compressions (that) I had him back,” Westlake told WFTS.

SEE ALSO: Ask an Attorney: Prosecutor, Defense Attorney Discuss Controversial Florida Parking Lot Shooting

Sheriff Judd called the fatal encounter a “classic stand your ground case,” invoking the law that allows citizens to use lethal force, without a duty to retreat or flee the danger,  if they reasonably fear for their life.

“This is a justifiable homicide all day long. You have the right protect yourself,” Sheriff Judd said Wednesday. “This was the intent of the law.”

Judd also had something to say to folks who have a tendency to lose their cool.

“Here’s a message for the hotheads of the community: Don’t do that stuff,” Judd said. “Good people carry guns and they will shoot you. A lot. Graveyard dead.”

Westlake, a security guard and licensed concealed carrier, was introspective following the shooting.

“Everybody tells me what I did was right, but you feel like, ‘did I have to?’ after the fact,” he said. “I wish the whole chain of events didn’t happen.”

“Everything I do now I’m going to be reminded that this other person doesn’t get to do it,” he added. “So it’s hard to enjoy some things.”

Prosecutors will make the final call on whether Westlake faces any charges. But it doesn’t look likely. GunsAmerica reached out to one of our attorney friends from the “Ask an Attorney” series and inquired whether the shooting was justified, and the response was, “Absolutely.”

Meanwhile, Lyft and Uber have suspended Westlake from using the apps. Both companies ask drivers and passengers not to carry while using the ride-share service. Westlake believes he won’t be allowed to return to work.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Geadawg September 15, 2018, 9:54 am

    Thank God for the FLA Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground! Also for Sheriff Grady Judd, who quickly realized the Uber driver was using his right of self defense. Also, Boo to Uber for suspending driver and not allowing drivers to carry if CCW licensed. Why do you have to give up your 2A rights to work there?

  • Time2standup September 11, 2018, 2:33 am

    CVS Pharmacy whose headquarters is in Woonsocket RI is another anti 2A company. I was told I couldn’t even carry in the store on my day off as a pharmacy tech, even though I live in Kansas which is a Constitution Carry state. I was told if I went outside to my car and re-entered the store to stop an active shooter from killing my associates I would be fired. That is to say I wasn’t shot and killed myself for not being allowed to defend my self around all the different drugs. I turned in my resignation, and will never shop a CVS ever again, it is a dangerous gun free zone.

  • Oaf September 8, 2018, 4:15 pm

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Looks like we got a winner…..

  • Jackkade September 8, 2018, 10:52 am

    Definition of ‘ STUPIDY’… bringing a Cell Phone to a pistol fight.

  • Gary A. May September 7, 2018, 3:55 pm

    Mr. Sheriff Grady Judd stated to a reporters question: Why did your deputies shoot this man 37 times? Sheriff Judd stated, because we didn’t have 38 bullets. LOL My kind of Sheriff……………….

    • LG September 7, 2018, 9:31 pm

      Thanks for the quote Gary May and a nice Bravo for the good sheriff

    • Jake September 12, 2018, 2:48 am

      The police are government… the government killing American citizens is wrong. You and your comments are sad low life scum…. a million dead cops does not justify one dead citizen, blue lives are disposable, citizens lives are not… you should move to Russia.

  • Lloyd Dumas September 7, 2018, 3:18 pm

    Feeling sorry for the driver hope he gets the help he needs to go on with his life, I would have did the same as he. Feeling sorry for the victim family what a price to pay for being stupid.

  • craig September 7, 2018, 2:19 pm

    Justified. I will no longer use Uber or Lyft. They expect their employees to give up and die. And they don’t care about the safety of their passengers.

  • Tyrone Greene September 7, 2018, 2:10 pm

    In a way, this may sound bad, but… I think Mr. Westlake should sue both Uber, Lyft, and Mr. Boek’s estate for lost employment wages and mental direst ….

  • David Schortner September 7, 2018, 12:44 pm

    The defender said he shot to stop a threat. Not to kill. A cop would have emptied his gun.

    • Jake September 12, 2018, 2:50 am

      Verry very sad but very true… cops are bad people who kill more Americans then terror…

  • Dave September 7, 2018, 12:07 pm

    There ARE firearms, these days, that are DESIGNED to look like things, OTHER than guns.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/company-invents-gun-folds-look-cellphone-n547221
    That fact, combined with someone SAYING that they have a pistol, in the dark, would be enough for ANYONE to fear for their life.

    This video once again proves the FBI 3-3-3, self defense “rule.” Which states that these encounters generally happen within 3-FEET, within 3-SECONDS, and with 3-SHOTS, …or less.

  • TWP September 7, 2018, 11:49 am

    We need a 2A friendly ride share service, no longer using Uber.

    • Irish-7 September 10, 2018, 10:02 am

      That’s a good idea! Advocates of the 2nd Amendment would feel more welcome. Just as important, unarmed passengers could feel safer.

  • rt66paul September 7, 2018, 10:53 am

    While I agree with the police here, I wonder if it had been an Uber or Lyft driver that was not known to the police as a recruit. If it were black 20s something male that had a few little run ins with the department, shooting a jealous drunk man at closing time – would that have turned out the same?

    Somehow I see a protected class protecting their own.

    • Pseudo September 7, 2018, 1:50 pm

      Does your head ever get below the clouds? I see you have no issue stirring a pot provided by the media for the most part. Do some actual research instead of spreading innuendo Road apples.

    • Alan Gross September 7, 2018, 2:55 pm

      Really? It’s this type of comment and thinking that is creating the racial BS that’s going on, in this country, right now. You can’t tell me that you honestly think, if the Uber driver were black he would be facing charges under the very same circumstances with the very same video for evidence.

      • Jake September 12, 2018, 2:57 am

        You believe the police are… unbiased in there thinking??
        Bless your heart.

    • ExNuke September 7, 2018, 3:45 pm

      Somehow I see a perpetual victim who finds racism in a PB&J sandwich on “white” bread or a cup of coffee with cream.

    • AZArchanngel55 September 7, 2018, 4:48 pm

      You need to turn off MSNBC and put the koolade down.

      • jake September 12, 2018, 3:00 am

        I watch Fox News…. cops are not good people. They are a stones throw away from being ISIS buddy. Your a sheep! Wake up!
        Cops are government….. government is bad… m’kay

    • Jake September 12, 2018, 2:55 am

      It is very true that the police hold different standards of justice for those who kiss the blue ass and a much less understanding outlook for the rest of us… a young black of a big bearded white guy would have the book thrown at then…. if not shot them selves but police stupidity….

  • Bear September 7, 2018, 10:15 am

    The one thing for everyone to take away from this is a lesson that I learned through self-defense and martial arts:

    “Thou shalt not make idle threats.”

    As TR said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

  • Johnny September 7, 2018, 9:57 am

    You would not have time to think about it, Someone come at you saying ( I have a pistol) Really!!! What did the guy (Boek ) think was going to happen. Anyone would try there best to defend themselves. Hands down Westlake done what any law abiding citizen would have done to protect him/her self.

  • Kimberpross September 7, 2018, 9:51 am

    What an idiot! Forcefully stopping a vehicle at night, jumping out of his truck and claiming he has a pistol while pointing something at someone in a suspicious manner, like a gun. That is asking to be assassinated. I feel for the Uber driver. His life has been changed forever thanks to an idiot, and his actions were justifiable. Anyone that carries would have likely unholstered and prepared to defend. At what point do you squeeze the trigger? Why would the Uber driver not believe the guy had a gun, he told him so. Being dark and him moving toward the Uber driver quickly, no one would be able to ID for sure what was in his hand and at the time the Uber driver fired, it was a point where the truck driver would have been squeezing if he was serious. Best to keep that road rage in the cab folks.

  • Josh September 7, 2018, 7:58 am

    I bet he has a case for a law suite over wrongful termination. I hope he wins!

    It should spark national outrage that Uber and Lyft would rather see their customers and employees dead than protect themselves.

  • Dr Motown September 7, 2018, 7:50 am

    A single shot from a .40 caliber? WOW! I thought we were only allowed to own 9mm’s nowadays…(sarcasm emoji)

  • Joe September 7, 2018, 7:10 am

    It was a good shooting and it’s a shame Florida’s right to work laws protects the employers from law suits for these type of firings.

  • Donald Freeman September 7, 2018, 6:10 am

    Glad he had the guts to pull the trigger. I’d buy him a beer any day! As for UBER and LYFT.. his firing is why I boycott thier ride services. Anti 2A companies do not deserve my hard earned greenbacks… or my crypto.

  • Marcelino September 7, 2018, 5:49 am

    It happened at Walmart, Academy and now Uber. The employees were justify to protect themselves and they got fire.
    The company’ reputation is more important than the lives of its workers.

  • Abner T Yokum September 7, 2018, 5:29 am

    Nice of Uber & Lyft to crap on their driver for defending himself. Puts their company(ies) in a whole new light…

  • Roscoe September 7, 2018, 3:13 am

    After watching the video I didn’t realize the man didn’t have a pistol until I read that he did not. I watched the video again and realized that as he stepped out of his pickup a cellphone was visible for a split second. I guess when the man said “I have a pistol and held something in his hand I automatically assumed that the cellphone was a weapon. I would have been very afraid for my life at that point had I been there.

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