Fake Uber Driver Arrested After Brutal Sexual Assault of Passenger in Westlake: LAPD


A man who pretended to be an Uber driver and brutally sexually assaulted a female passenger, prompting police to shoot at him, has been arrested less than a week after the violent attack in the Westlake area, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.

Police respond to a report of a woman screaming inside a vehicle April 3, 2016, in Westlake. (Credit: Loudlabs)

Dartanyum Larmar Smith, 39, was arrested at a South Los Angeles home on suspicion of kidnapping early Saturday morning.

The incident began about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, April 3, when LAPD received a call about a woman screaming from inside an SUV in the area of 1300 block of Ingraham Street.

Officers did not have the exact address when responding and began searching parked cars along dark streets for the assault, Beck said at morning news conference.

As they drive by … they hear the screams. They can see the assault going on in the back seat of this SUV," Beck said.

The officers tried to get into the vehicle, but it was locked. When they began smashing the windows, the attacker jumped into the driver’s seat and began accelerating away.

Glass remained at the scene where LAPD officers smashed the window of a vehicle in which a sex assault was taking place in Westlake on April 3, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

Smith allegedly accelerated toward officers, one of whom was struck by the SUV's door. One officer fired a single shot that didn’t strike the driver, Beck said.

As the SUV sped away, with the female victim still inside, the officers called for backup and jumped into their patrol vehicle to follow.

About four blocks away, after a frantic search, they found the victim, dumped onto the street, Beck said. She was discovered at James M. Wood Boulevard and Columbia Avenue and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

The driver escaped.

The case was assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, and the FBI helped, Beck said.

DNA evidence from a sexual assault kit and the scrapings from the victim’s fingernails led to a match in a state crime database, according to the chief. Investigators found Smith’s location and served a search warrant that led to his arrest, Beck said.

The chief praised the victim, saying she fought “valiantly” against her assailant, despite being choked into unconsciousness three times and brutally sexually assaulted.

A friend had ordered an Uber for the victim, who was waiting at Eighth Street and Vermont Avenue when an SUV pulled up and its driver asked if she was waiting for Uber, Beck and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

He was not an Uber driver. He posed as an Uber driver. That’s a very important distinction,” Beck said. “With some trepidation, she entered the vehicle.”

Smith drove the victim about two blocks east and sexually assaulted her, Beck said.

“This was a young woman who through absolutely no fault of her own was targeted and selected right off the street by a predator,” Beck said.

He praised the quick work of investigators who found the suspect, saying he was the kind of individual who might have embarked on a series of such crimes across the city.

Smith has served prison time for robbery, Beck said.

Uber, Beck said, had been very helpful during the investigation.

"There’s no blame to the victim here … but it is so important that when you’re using a ride application like Uber, to make sure the person you’re getting into the car of is the person they say they are," Beck said.

The Uber app tells users the license plate of the driver's vehicle, as well as a description of that vehicle. Sometimes the app includes a photo of the driver as well.

Police initially said the suspect's name was Dartanyun Lamar Smith, but later clarified that his name is Dartanyum Larmar Smith. Inmate records show arrests for both names.

The suspect was being held on $1 million bail.

Smith is a documented gang member, according to Officer Norma Eisenman of LAPD's Media Relations Section.


Woman says she was attacked, groped by Uber driver

WSB - Atlanta


A Henry County woman says an Uber driver attacked her.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, filed a police report saying Jose Marrero Martinez picked her up from a restaurant and during the ride he tried to grope her.

She said she pushed Martinez away and that's when he punched her, in front of her 2-year-old son.

A McDonough was patrolling a shopping plaza on that Thursday around 9 p.m. when he saw the victim running toward him yelling "police."

The officer said the victim was already on the phone with 911, reporting the assault.

Police arrested Martinez at his McDonough home, charging him with battery and cruelty to children.

The victim, was going to tell her story on camera, but when the Martinez bonded out of jail, the victim decided against an interview out of fear.

Uber released a statement about the incident saying, "We were appalled to learn of this terrible and inexcusable incident - and have been in contact with the rider - to offer our full support, as she recovers from this ordeal. This driver was immediately removed from the platform, and we have been working directly with law enforcement to assist in their investigation."

The representative said Martinez had been an Uber driver for about four months before the incident.

Martinez's wife said he's being wrongly accused.

- See more at: http://www.whio.com/news/news/crime-law/woman-says-she-was-attacked-groped-uber-driver/nqZgB/#sthash.8QQVnyTG.dpuf

Man asked his Uber driver in Kalamazoo- "You're not the shooter, are you?"

By Michael E. Miller February 22- The Washington Post

On Saturday night, an Indianapolis man named Derek and his wife took her parents to a show at the Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Mich. As the craft beer flowed, a band called Andy Frasco and the U.N. belted out uplifting blues music. The group’s new album title seemed to capture the mood: “Happy Bastards.”

As the night drew on, however, the crowd began to hear increasingly horrific news. A Kalamazoo woman had been shot outside her apartment complex. Then a father and son had been gunned down in front of a car dealership. Finally, a local Cracker Barrel had been turned into a bloodbath when a shooter opened fire, killing at least four.

Derek and his family were staying only a mile and a half away from the brewery, but he decided it was safer not to walk with a killer on the loose in the college town.

So he ordered an Uber ride.

That decision could have cost them their lives.

A photo of a heavyset man with long, salt and pepper hair, glasses and a goatee popped up on the man’s phone. Uber’s app said his name was Jason and he would arrive shortly in a dark-colored Chevrolet SUV.

Sure enough, the car pulled up and the family of four climbed in, with Derek in the front seat.

“My father mentioned from the back seat, you know, the situation with the shooter,” Derek told NBC affiliate WOOD TV, using only his first name.

“I kind of jokingly said to the driver, ‘You’re not the shooter, are you?’” Derek said. “He gave me some sort of a ‘no’ response … shook his head. …

“I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m not, I’m just tired,’” he continued. “And we proceeded to have a pretty normal conversation after that.”

Roughly 20 minutes after the Uber driver dropped Derek and his family off at their hotel, a man matching the driver’s description was arrested nearby in connection with the deadly shooting spree.

Police identified the suspect as Jason Brian Dalton, a 45-year-old who had only recently begun working for the ride-hailing service.

When Derek saw photos of Dalton on Sunday morning, he called Kalamazoo Police detectives to report his brush with the suspect, he told WOOD TV.

A police spokesman would not confirm Derek’s account when contacted by The Washington Post early Monday morning, although authorities have said they believe Dalton appeared to continue looking for passengers even after his alleged shooting spree.

There was no doubt in the Indianapolis man’s mind, however, that he had received a ride from Dalton.

“It was the same guy,” Derek told WOOD TV.

He also provided the television station with his Uber receipt, which showed a man named Jason — who bears a striking resemblance to Dalton — and a time-stamp from shortly before Dalton’s arrest at 12:40 a.m. Sunday.

Uber has confirmed Dalton had been working with the company and said he had passed a background check.

“We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo, Michigan,” Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, said in a statement. “We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can.”

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said Sunday that the attacks appeared to be “completely and totally random.”

Derek and his family weren’t the only Uber customers to have close encounters with Dalton before or during the mass shooting.

On Saturday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m., Dalton picked up a customer for a short ride, but the trip turned out to be so terrifying, his passenger practically leaped out and called 911.

[What the bizarre nature of the Kalamazoo shooting reveals about Uber’s background checks]

In an interview with The Washington Post, Matthew Mellen said that Dalton drove erratically, blowing through a stop sign, sideswiping another car, swerving in and out of traffic and refusing to stop. All the while, however, the Uber driver acted as though everything were normal, he said.

“He was, like, asking me, ‘Don’t you want to get to your friend’s house?’” Mellen said.

As soon as Dalton slowed down, Mellen jumped out and dialed 911, he told The Post. It wasn’t until two hours later, however, that police called him back.

By then, the alleged massacre had already begun.

According to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting, the first victim was shot outside her apartment complex at about 6 p.m. She has not been named but is expected to survive, officials said.

Six others were not so lucky. On Sunday, police identified the dead as Mary Lou Nye, 63, of Baroda, Mich.; Mary Jo Nye, 60, of Battle Creek; Dorothy Brown, 74, of Battle Creek; Barbara Hawthorne, 68, of Battle Creek; and father and son Richard Smith, 53, and Tyler Smith, 17, both of Kalamazoo.

Authorities in Kalamazoo plan to charge Dalton on Monday with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and six counts of felony with a firearm.

A 14-year-old girl was “gravely injured” at Cracker Barrel, according to authorities. She was initially reported dead — the mass shooting’s supposed seventh victim — and was being prepped for organ donation when she suddenly squeezed her mother’s hand.

“Wow,” said a Kalamazoo police officer said when contacted by The Post early Monday morning. “It’s miraculous.”