Michigan shootings: Kalamazoo gunman says he was ‘possessed by Uber app during killing spree'

Jason Dalton told authorities 'a devil head popped up on his screen' when he opened the app

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An Uber driver charged with shooting six people as he picked up passengers in a Michigan town has told investigators he was being controlled by the taxi-app on his mobile phone at the time.

Jason Dalton told authorities “a devil head popped up on his screen” when he opened the app and “that is when all the problems started”, according to a police report released by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and the Kalamazoo County sheriff’s office in response to a public records request.

The 45-year-old has been charged with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and eight counts of felony firearm use after six people were fatally shot in “random attacks” over a seven hour period in Kalamazoo on 20 February.

None of the victims were known to Dalton and authorities have struggled to discern a motive for the attacks, which the Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley has called “baffling”, The Washington Post reports.

Police investigate the scene early Sunday, 21 February, 2016, where people were shot in vehicles outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Kalamazoo, Michigan

According to the police report, Dalton said the “devil figure… would give you an assignment and it would literally take over your body”.

He told officers that when you “plug into” the Uber app, “you can actually feel the presence on you”.

“It feels like it is coming from the phone itself,” he said, speaking of "an artificial presence.”

When police pulled Dalton over on 20 February, the report said, he didn’t shoot because the app had changed colour from black to red, so “he felt like he was no longer being guided”.

The report states Dalton told investigators he “doesn’t want to come across as a crazy person,” and was sad for the people he allegedly killed as well as for his family members, who are “going to have to hear all of this.”

When police asked what was going through his mind, the report said Dalton told investigators “if only we knew, it would blow our mind.”

Uber security chief, Joe Sullivan, previously said Dalton had cleared a background check and was approved as a driver on 25 January.

He had given more than 100 rides and had a rating of 4.73 stars out of a possible five from passengers.

Mr Sullivan said that until 20 February, Uber had no reason to believe anything was wrong and that “no background check would have flagged and anticipated this situation.”

Dalton is due to undergo an in-court psychiatric exam to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial, Michigan Live reports

Additional reporting by Associated Press