Philly Lyft driver shoots, wounds carjackers

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

A rideshare driver in Philadelphia is alive and well today, though likely looking for a new job after using his legally-possessed handgun to defend himself against a pair of carjackers on Monday.

According to police, the incident began with the suspects intentionally rear-ending the Lyft driver several times. When the driver got out of his car to check on the damage the suspects struck, with one of them sliding behind the wheel of the car with a shotgun in his hands.

But as he drove off, the Lyft driver – who police say has a valid permit to carry – fired his gun at the carjacker.

The second suspect tried to hit the Lyft driver with his vehicle, and the Lyft driver fired again.

The carjacker was located in the victim’s vehicle suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to the hospital and was last reported to be in critical condition.

The second suspect was located with a gunshot wound to his right side. He was also reported to be in critical condition.

Thankfully the Lyft driver was unharmed, and both suspects are now under arrest (though with uber-progressive D.A. Larry Krasner in charge of prosecuting them, it’s an open question as to whether or not they’ll ever appear in court to answer for their alleged crimes).

Because of Lyft’s policy requiring drivers to be unarmed, however, it’s likely that protecting his life cost the unnamed driver his job. Both Lyft and rival Uber have driver disarmament policies in place, which force contractors to choose between complying with company policy or recognizing the reality that Philadelphia’s a dangerous place and rideshare drivers have a dangerous job.

In fact, just a day after the armed Lyft driver was able to protect himself from two carjackers thanks to the fact that he had his legally-carried gun with him, an unarmed driver with Uber got a painful reminder that the companies’ policies are a godsend to armed criminals.

An Uber driver is recovering after he suffered a graze wound during an attempted carjacking in Philadelphia, according to police.

It happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on the 2100 block of Fanshawe Street.

Police say the 29-year-old male driver was attempting to pick up a customer when he was approached by two men who tried to take his vehicle.

One of the suspects fired two gunshots toward the vehicle as the victim sped off, said police.

A bullet hit a headrest and then grazed the Uber driver in the back. The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Speeding away might have been the best option for the Uber driver at that moment, but the calculus almost certainly would have changed had he been armed and able to defend himself. Thanks to the “no guns allowed” policies of Uber and Lyft, however, a good portion of the drivers for these companies are put in the untenable position of choosing between a paycheck and their personal safety.

Philadelphia’s 562 homicides in 2021 was an all-time high, and carjackings in the city have nearly doubled over the past two years as well. Of course, that crime spike isn’t confined solely to Philadelphia. We’re seeing increases in carjackings in cities from coast to coast, with Uber and Lyft drivers seen as easy and attractive targets.

These companies never should have had a driver disarmament policy to begin with, and a change is long past due. Until that happens, however, there’ll be plenty of drivers who disobey company rules, and I can’t say that I blame them. Losing a job sucks, but compared to losing your life it’s an easy call to make.