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Police: $10 Million Uber Lawsuit A Hoax, Handwriting Analysis Clears Accused Kalamazoo Shooter

KALAMAZOO (WWJ) - Police in Kalamazoo say a $10 million lawsuit against Uber purportedly filed by the man accused of fatally shooting six people in southwestern Michigan is just a big hoax.

News that suspected killer Jason Dalton filed the federal lawsuit spread like wild-fire on Wednesday. The handwritten document claims the ride-hailing company "ripped me off, never paid me back wages or overtime. ... I busted my butt for them, they gave me no Christmas bonus, I wasn't invited to any corporate parties. They made me work when I was sick and didn't let me spend time with my two children."

See the entire complaint HERE.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas said he was instantly suspicious when he heard about the lawsuit, which is seeking at least $10 million "in punitive damages and emotional distress."

"I pulled up the filing online and saw the envelope, it had a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania postmark so I knew right then and there something wasn't right because our mail doesn't go through Philadelphia," Matyas told WWJ's Beth Fisher. "It's definitely not one of the envelopes that comes out of our jail."

When Matyas got to the office Thursday morning, he quickly went to work trying to validate his suspicions.

"We did a handwriting comparison with Mr. Dalton, we have his handwriting on file -- it's definitely not Mr. Dalton's handwriting," he said. "We talked to him and he had no idea what we were talking about. He said that he didn't file any lawsuit, he didn't authorize anyone to file the lawsuit. He doesn't know who filed the lawsuit."

When confronted with the lawsuit, Matyas said Dalton calmy kept his composure.

"He's maintained the same level of behavior as he always has since the day he came into our facility," he said. "He's pretty much even keel."

Since the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District court, Matyas contacted the FBI to investigate the case further and possibly identify the person who actually filed the suit.

"It's very possible they could [face charges]," he said. "I gave them the information that we did have and what the FBI does with it is up to them."

As to how the mix-up was made, Matyas said anyone, anywhere can file a lawsuit -- at any time.

"It's pretty easy. You simply file the paperwork and sent it to the court and they take it at its face value," he said. "But it's very strange, very suspicious and it didn't take long to find out that this was indeed a hoax."

Dalton, who has been ordered to undergo a mental competency exam, is charged with murder and attempted murder in the shootings outside an apartment complex, a restaurant and at a car lot. Two people survived. Investigators say Dalton didn't know the victims.

According to a police report, Dalton told authorities after the Feb. 20 shootings in and around Kalamazoo that "it feels like it is coming from the phone itself" and told of something "like an artificial presence," the report said.

Dalton told officers that when you "plug into" the Uber app, "you can actually feel the presence on you." He said the difference between the night of the shootings and others was that an icon on the Uber app that is normally red "had changed to black."

He told investigators he "doesn't want to come across as a crazy person," and added he was sad for the people who were killed as well as for his family members, who "are going to have to hear all of this," according to the report.

The details about Dalton's comments are in documents released by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and Kalamazoo County sheriff's office in response to public records requests by The Associated Press and others.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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