Uber driver shot twice in south Philly home invasion

A 34-year-old Uber driver was shot twice Thursday afternoon as he provided a ride home from a party in west Philadelphia, ABC7 reported.

The shooting occurred after two men robbed the driver of his iPhone and handgun, CBS Philadelphia reported. The suspects took the driver to a home on Grafton Street, where they attempted to tie him up, according to CBS. After that failed, the two gunmen broke into the home, where he found himself holding a revolver in his hand.

Police said that one of the gunmen pulled out a gun and shot him twice, when he failed to follow their commands, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The gunman then fled the scene, while the other gunman left the house with the Uber driver’s iPhone, which was recovered nearby.

The Uber driver was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He was released from the hospital later Thursday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told ABC7.

The victims of the violent crime were from Columbia, South Carolina, Ross told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The men, identified as Bryan McPherson, 21, and Javon Levy, 25, were arrested a short time later by local police. Both were charged with robbery and aggravated assault. McPherson also faced charges of burglary and unlawful restraint, while Levy was charged with firearms violations. They remain in custody, Philadelphia police said.

It was not immediately clear whether any of the victims are currently affiliated with Uber, but Philly.com reported that police later determined that their Uber accounts had been hacked.

“No Uber system was compromised,” the company said in a statement. “This individual did not pose a risk to anyone who utilized the service. We are proactively reaching out to the individuals to offer assistance to their families.”

Although the shooting took place at a house where partygoers had gathered, police were investigating whether the men may have been armed when they entered the home, The New York Times reported.

The incident led to an immediate outcry from Uber, which had to condemn the shooting.

“It’s truly appalling to hear about this violence, and we are reaching out to our customer to offer any support they need,” Uber said in a statement, according to ABC7.

The taxi industry has argued that companies like Uber promote consumption of drugs and alcohol in addition to an increase in crime. The argument took another hit last week, when Maryland-based taxi company Taxicab Taxi filed suit, claiming that Uber’s drivers do not comply with local regulations designed to ensure the public safety.

Police in Philadelphia and beyond have implemented a variety of measures to ensure the safety of the public since last year’s incidents of self-driving cars operating unsupervised in the city, including car owners obtaining driver’s licenses and developing policies that discourage DUI and drug use. Philadelphia’s police department has also released a new cellphone app, called “Safe Ride,” that allows users to confirm the status of any assigned driver in the event the driver does not come back from the car.

In addition, police have assured that the ride apps themselves are designed to allow drivers to call for help during emergencies, should they need it.

In the case of the attack on the Uber driver, police have been cautious about making a quick link between Uber and the incident, NBC10 reported. Philly.com also noted that neither driver had made any claims that a drunk driver was responsible for the shooting.

This story has been updated with a statement from Uber.

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