DALLAS - A former Army Ranger who told Dallas police he thought he was stopping an armed robbery is now charged with a felony for shooting an Uber driver.
Dallas police say 33-year-old John Beaty told them he saw a passenger in a car holding a gun and thought the car's driver was in danger so he fired several shots.
It turned out the driver was working for Uber and the other man was his passenger.
The shooting happened just before 1 a.m. in the parking lot of the Lakewood on the Trail Apartments on Brookside Drive.
According to Dallas police, a 24-year-old Uber driver had just picked up a man at the apartment complex. Police are not saying why, but the Uber driver asked the passenger to see his handgun.
As that was happening, investigators say 33-year-old John Beaty was walking through the parking lot. Police say he saw the interaction and thought it was a robbery so he fired at least ten rounds into the passenger side of the car. One of the bullets hit the Uber driver in the chest.
“I mean, it was a pretty quick assumption, but who knows what really happened,” said Madison Abboud, who lives in the apartment complex. “None of us were there, so it's difficult to judge.”
According to Beaty’s mother, the Army veteran works at Trident Response Group that describes itself as an elite risk-and-threat solutions firm that employs veterans.
According to his work biography, Beaty is part of the U.S. Army 3d Ranger Battalion — 75th Ranger Regiment. He's now charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Attorney Nicole Knox, who is not affiliated with the case, says his training and military experience could have given him reason to react the way he did. Legally, she says he could have been acting in self-defense of a third party.
"In our day to day lives, we don't expect to see someone pulling out a gun and then us reacting by firing 15 shots,” she said. “But as a trained veteran, is it reasonable for him to react that way? Maybe."
The group that Beaty works for trains people on how to respond to a threat.
"That's going to work against him because it shows a level of responsibility and accountability when using firearms and being safe with them,” Knox said.
The Uber driver was taken to the hospital in an unknown condition. His identity has not been released.
Police questioned the passenger but did not charge him with any crime. Both Beaty and the passenger had a license to carry a handgun.