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Uber Eats driver charged with murder in shooting death of customer

The Washington Post
February 19. 2018 9:04PM

An Uber Eats driver has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a customer Saturday in Atlanta.

Authorities said Robert Bivines, 36, opened fire on 30-year-old Ryan Thornton late Saturday night in the city’s Buckhead neighborhood. Witnesses told police that after Bivines delivered the customer’s meal, he fired multiple shots, hitting Thornton, and then fled from the scene.

Bivines turned himself in Monday and was booked into the Fulton County Jail on a murder charge, his attorney, Jackie Patterson, said.

Patterson said there was an argument before the shooting and that his client had tried to protect himself. “There’s no question that my client was defending himself,” he told The Washington Post on Monday, saying that the customer had become aggressive — reaching into his coat pocket and charging at the driver. Officers responded to the scene about 11:30 p.m. Saturday as the victim was being rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition. Police said Thornton suffered multiple gunshot wounds and later died of his injuries.

Witnesses told police that the victim had used Uber’s food delivery service to order a meal. They said that when the delivery arrived, Thornton met the driver and received his order; then, as Thornton walked away, “words may have been exchanged” between the two men, police said in a statement.

Police said shots were fired from the delivery vehicle, striking Thornton.

Patterson said that Bivines told him that Thornton was agitated by the time Bivines arrived because the driver had issues finding the location. Patterson said that when Bivines gave Thornton his food order, Thornton “jerked it” away and cursed at the driver. Thornton then reached into his jacket pocket and shouted “I’m going to f- you up,” according to Bivines’s attorney.

Patterson said Bivines thought the customer had a gun and that he tried to defend himself.

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