Law enforcement says an Uber driver did the right thing by fatally shooting Jason Boek early Tuesday morning on a dark road in Polk County, Florida. But that man, Robert Westlake, said he’s not so sure about that.
“Everyone tells you what you did was right, but you feel like, ‘Did I have to?’ after the fact,” he told ABC Action News in a Friday report. “Someone comes at you like that, you really don’t have much time to think.”
And he suspected that Uber might kick him off the service over what happened.
He said the company and Lyft suspended his account. He added that Uber told him he could come back if he’s found to have broken no laws, but he thought that’s not going to happen because he violated their rule about no guns.
Westlake said he doesn’t regret the shooting per se, but the fact that “someone else doesn’t get to enjoy the things I get to enjoy.”
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd shed no tears for Boek in a press conference Wednesday. He called him a “goofball.”
According to deputies, Boek mistakenly believed that his girlfriend left the bar in an Uber car. She didn’t, but he lashed out in a series of threatening text messages, Judd said.
“I’m going to f— both of ya’ll up,” Boek wrote in censored texts posted by the sheriff’s office on Facebook. “Your [sic] a piece of s—. I’m going to —ing beat the f— out of Uber driver.”
This did not go the way he wanted. Judd claims Boek tailgated Westlake in a Ford pick-up truck, passed him on the road, and forced him to a stop. As seen on dash cam video, the boyfriend stepped out of the vehicle, holding up something in his hand.
Deputies said he claimed to have a pistol and threatened to shoot the Uber driver.
A gunshot can be heard on the footage. Boek sustained a single wound to the chest. No charges for Westlake, even though it turned out that the dead man didn’t have a gun. It was a cell phone.
Nonetheless, the threatening behavior by Boek made this a justifiable homicide, Judd said.
“This is a classic stand your ground case,” he said.
But Westlake, a recent police academy graduate, told ABC that he wasn’t even thinking about the statute at the time. He just wanted to survive, and believed at first that he hit Boek in a spot that wouldn’t result in death, he said.
“I’m not getting shot,” Westlake said about his thoughts during the incident. He explained that he realized Boek’s “gun” was just a phone when he kicked it out of the dying individual’s hand.
“I thought for a moment after doing compressions I had him back,” he told ABC.
Westlake, a man with three children and a fourth on the way, said he hugged his family when he returned home.
Note: The article now mentions this took place in Florida.
[Screengrab via ABC Action News]