An Uber driver fatally shot a passenger in an argument over vomit in the car, police say

Screenshot/KOB4A composite image showing Clayton Benedict, who is suspected of fatally shooting James Porter after an argument in his Uber, and the scene of the incident.
  • An Uber passenger was shot dead in New Mexico after an argument with a driver about a “large amount of vomit” in the backseat of the car, the police say.
  • According to an affidavit reported by local media, the altercation started when James Porter, 27, refused to pay a clean-up fee after his friend vomited in the Uber vehicle’s back seat.
  • The driver, Clayton Benedict, said he pulled the gun on Porter after Porter reacted angrily to being kicked out of the car.
  • Benedict has not been charged with a crime, and a police investigation is ongoing.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

An Uber passenger was fatally shot after an argument with the driver about a “large amount of vomit” in the back seat of his car, the police say.

James Porter, 27, was shot dead by the side of a New Mexico highway on March 17, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The Uber vehicle’s driver, Clayton Benedict, has not been charged with a crime in connection to the shooting, the Journal said.

According to a police affidavit seen by the Journal, Benedict said he shot at Porter after a dispute over a clean-up fee. The fee was due because Jonathan Reyes, a friend of Porter’s, vomited in the back seat, the Journal said.

Michael Patrick, a spokesman for the district attorney in Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, told the Journal that it might take prosecutors a few weeks to decide whether to file charges.

The Albuquerque Police Department is still investigating, a police spokesman, Gilbert Gallegos, told the Journal.

Clayton BenedictScreenshot/KOB4A mugshot of Benedict from a previous booking.

The affidavit for Benedict’s search warrant, cited by the Journal, says that Benedict picked up Porter and Reyes on the evening of March 17, which was St. Patrick’s Day.

According to the Journal, Benedict told the police that Porter and Reyes had been drinking and that Reyes vomited on the back seat. The incident is said to have sparked an argument over a clean-up fee, which the affidavit said Porter refused to pay.

Benedict said he pulled over at an interstate exit and asked his passengers to leave the car, the Journal said. He said Porter reacted angrily, slamming the door and throwing his sunglasses at the driver, who had also exited the vehicle.

“At this time Clayton pulls his handgun from his holster and tells James ‘to stop, back up,'” a detective wrote in the affidavit, according to the Journal.

The Uber driver said Porter first ran toward traffic, saying, “You’re not going to shoot me.”

The document said Porter returned to the car’s open driver’s side door, the Journal reported, and said: “Well if you’re not going to shoot me, I (am) going to run you over with your own car.”

Benedict said he then shot at Porter with “an unknown amount of rounds,” according to the Journal.

Uber New Mexico shootingScreenshot/KOB4Dents left by bullets in Benedict’s Uber car.

The police arrived to find Porter dead with two gunshot wounds under his left armpit, the Journal reported. They also found a gun and six casings on the ground.

Reyes was kneeling next to the body when the police arrived, according to the Journal. But the police said he was in so much shock he could not remember the altercation – or his friend dying.

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Porter’s estate filed a civil lawsuit against Uber and Benedict in early April, according to the Journal. It alleges that the company was putting its customers at unreasonable risk by hiring Benedict.

Authorities already investigated Benedict in 2015, when he and his ex-wife were charged with abuse of a child, the local news channel KOB 4 reported. The charges were dropped.

An Uber spokesman told the Journal that Benedict “does not have access to the app” anymore.

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