The Uber driver charged in last month’s deadly shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Mich., told detectives that he was possessed by the Uber app on his cellphone and didn’t recall randomly killing six people.
“It has the ability to take you over,” Jason Dalton told detectives in the hours after he was arrested.
The suspect’s bizarre comments are revealed in reports filed by two detectives who interrogated Dalton. Kalamazoo authorities released a transcript of the interview among 138 pages of records on Monday in response to a freedom of information requests made by Yahoo News and other media outlets.
Police admitted in the aftermath of the Feb. 20 rampage that they were puzzled by what motivated Dalton, 45, to fire on strangers over the course of five hours. In addition to the six killed, two other people were injured in the shootings that occurred outside an apartment complex, in a Cracker Barrel restaurant parking lot and at a car lot.
Dalton, a married father of two, told investigators that his problems started after a satanic figure revealed itself to him through the Uber app on his iPhone.
“Dalton described the devil figure as a horned cow head or something like that and then it would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your whole body,” Det. William Moorian wrote in his report.
The Kalamazoo shooting victims ranged in age from 14 to 74.
Dalton told detectives that he just recently started driving for Uber to pick up some extra spending cash. The ride-hailing service says Dalton cleared a background check and was approved to be a driver on Jan. 25. He had given slightly more than 100 rides.
The suspect refused to answer investigators’ questions several times but eventually relented when Moorian again asked what was going through his mind when he shot a father and teenage son who were shopping for a used truck.
“Dalton said that if we only knew, it would blow our mind,” Moorian wrote. “Dalton then explains that how when he opens up the Uber taxi app a symbol appeared and he recognized that symbol as the Eastern Star symbol. Dalton said he wishes he would have never spoken what that symbol was when he saw it on his phone.”
In the report, Dalton describes to investigators how a symbol on the app would change colors from red to black. It is “almost like artificial intelligence can tap into your body,” Dalton told them during the interview.
Dalton, who worked as an insurance adjuster, told detectives that Uber requires all drivers to have a 2007 model car or newer so that the app can connect to the car. “You can actually feel the presence on you,” he said of the app.
Dalton was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a loaded 9mm handgun when officers pulled him over and took him into custody. Dalton, who told detectives he owned several firearms, said the Uber app made him carry the gun and wear the vest on the day of the killings.
“Dalton proceeded to tell us that he couldn’t imagine when he had bought them all that he would use them in this manner,” according to Moorian’s report. “Dalton then said that is why he is trying to tell us it is like an artificial presence.”
Police recovered 11 long guns, two handguns and various ammunition, among other things, when they searched Dalton's home, according the records released. From Dalton's car, investigators found five spent 9mm shell casings.
Multiple times Dalton told investigators that he couldn’t remember killing anyone and only recalled being at the Cracker Barrel after the fact. With his right arm extended and his hand in the shape of a gun, Dalton admitted recollecting the feeling of the firearm recoil at Cracker Barrel.
“Dalton said he remembered the pop, pop, pop of the gun,” Det. Cory Ghiringhelli wrote in his report.
A judge earlier this month ordered Dalton to undergo a mental competency exam before he proceeds to trial on 16 charges — including six counts of murder, two of attempted murder and eight felony gun counts. During the interview, Dalton told detectives that he doesn’t drink or smoke or take psychiatric medication.
“Dalton then told us he is not a killer and he knows that he has killed,” Ghiringhelli wrote.
He expressed remorse on several occasions during the interview — specifically when investigators informed him that his victims included 17-year-old Tyler Smith, whose girlfriend witnessed the killing of Tyler and his father, Richard Smith, from the back seat of her boyfriend’s SUV.
“I didn’t mean to kill him; I’m sorry for what happened there,” he said.
“Dalton said that he is sad for the people that have been killed and that he is sad for his family that they are going to have to hear all of this,” Moorian wrote.
Jason Sickles is a national reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).