Police: Denver Uber driver told witness he was attacked before fatally shooting passenger

Driver ID'd as Michael Hancock; victim: Hyun Kim
Posted at 10:35 AM, Jun 02, 2018

DENVER – Police say a driver for the ridesharing service Uber shot and killed a passenger in their car in Denver early Friday.

The shooting occurred a little before 3 a.m. on Interstate 25 near University Boulevard.

The Uber driver has been identified as Michael Hancock, 29. He was arrested for investigation on first-degree murder charges.

The passenger was identified as Hyun Kim, 45. He was pronounced dead at Denver Health Medical Center. An autopsy was completed, but the cause of death is pending.

Police said Hancock shot Kim multiple times after getting into some kind of altercation inside the vehicle.

According to a statement of probable cause provided by Denver police, the driver told a witness that Kim tried to attack Hancock and "the driver shot him."

The witness called 911 and passed the phone to Hancock, who identified himself to the dispatcher, the report said.

When officers arrived on scene, they found Kim lying on the floorboard of the front passenger seat. They then attempted to perform CPR on the passenger, but Kim was pronounced dead at the hospital.

While still at the scene, police removed a semiautomatic pistol from Hancock's right waistband and located "10 spent 40 caliber cartridges on the left shoulder of Interstate 25 near University Blvd," the police document read. 

The report continues, "Detective Lopez also located a blood trail near the spent cartridges; the blood trail was consistent with the path of where the Nissan sedan came to rest. Detective Lopez noted several suspected bullet strikes in the passenger compartment of the Nissan sedan."

Police said Hancock had trouble breathing and he was taken to a hospital for treatment. He was later arrested on investigation of first-degree murder.

Court records show that Hancock was charged with driving under restraint and a speeding infraction on April 21 in Douglas County and that he has several other traffic convictions in the past.

"He is a great dad. He has two kids. He's a college student. And his big thing is to make the world a better place," Hancock's father, Michael Hancock Sr. said of his son.

Uber confirmed that the incident appears to be associated with an on-app trip and that Hancock has been an Uber driver for nearly three years. The company said it has since removed Hancock from the app. 

Uber policy bars riders and drivers from carrying firearms except in states that expressly prohibit companies from banning guns. While Colorado allows drivers to carry firearms to protect themselves and their property, Uber spokesman Andrew Hasbun said the company's policy applies in Colorado.

Uber said it was working with police on the active investigation but said it couldn't offer further details.

"We are all deeply troubled by the events in Denver today. Our thoughts are with the families of those involved, and we will continue working closely with police," an Uber spokesperson said.