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Accused Michigan Shooter's Uber Lawsuit Is a Hoax: Sheriff

The handwritten document was filed Wednesday in Michigan's Eastern District Court



    Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office
    In this handout provided by Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office, shooting suspect Jason Brian Dalton, 45, poses for a booking photo after being arrested Feb. 21, 2016, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dalton is accused of killing six people and wounding two others at three locations in Kalamazoo in a seemingly random shooting spree.

    A civil lawsuit purportedly filed on behalf of an Uber driver accused of shooting six people to death near Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a hoax, according to the sheriff's department.

    The handwritten document, which sought $10 million and appeared to have come from Jason Dalton, 45, was filed Wednesday in Michigan's Eastern District Court. Dalton is accused of killing six people in a series of shootings Feb. 20. Investigators said he told them he was being controlled by the Uber app through his cellphone.

    "I’m currently in prison because of Uber," the document alleges. "Uber doesn’t care about its drivers, we are peasants and pawn pieces to Uber’s bottom line. Defendants manipulate all Uber drivers. My life is ruined because of Uber."

    Undersheriff Palyi Matas of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office said in an email to NBC affiliate WOOD on Thursday that the suit is a hoax.

    Jack Taylor/Getty Images

    "I was suspicious last night when I saw the envelope the lawsuit came in was postmarked Philadelphia," Matas said in the email. "We investigated and Dalton did not send it, did not authorize it and does not know who sent it. Further it was not his handwriting and it is not a jail envelope."

    Dalton's court-appointed attorney, Eusebio Solis Jr., said Wednesday he was unaware a suit had been filed.

    "I had no knowledge of this filing," he said. "He acted on his own and not at my suggestion."

    Michigan District Court spokesman Rod Hansen released a statement Thursday saying all lawsuit filings must be entered into the system electronically upon receipt.

    "The procedure is to receive it, put it into the system, get a magistrate judge, district court judge, and docket the case. At some point in the future the subpoenas would be delivered. At this point in the process we would be able to determine if it was fake," Hansen explained.

    He added that all parties would then be notified and the court would work with the prisoner to determine if the suit should move forward.

    "We are just early in the process and did not reach that point yet," Hansen said.

    Uber responded to the filing Wednesday, saying, "It's hard to know how to respond to someone who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions. Our hearts go out to the victims' families who have to live with the consequences of his terrible crimes."

    NBC reached out to the company Thursday for additional comment. 

    Dalton is charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the shootings that left six people dead and two injured.

    Authorities have said Dalton carried out the shootings while driving for Uber. According to a police report, Dalton allegedly told authorities it felt like the phone was controlling him, adding that "he is not a killer and he knows that he has killed."

    Earlier this month, a judge ordered Dalton to undergo a mental competency exam. 

    Investigators said Dalton did not know the victims.