Pensioner ‘shoots dead Uber driver’ unwittingly hired to pick up cash in blackmail scam

Uber dashcam video shows William Brock holding a weapon to Loletha Hall outside his home in South Charleston
Uber dashcam video shows William Brock pointing a gun at Loletha Hall outside his home in South Charleston - Clark County Sheriff's Office

A pensioner has been arrested after he allegedly shot dead an Uber driver who had unwittingly been hired to collect cash from him as part of a scam.

William Brock, 81, shot Loletha Hall several times when she appeared at his home in Ohio last month, after he believed she was part of the extortion attempt, police said. He has now been charged with her murder.

A man posing as an officer at a local court had previously called Mr Brock and told him he needed to pay $12,000 (£9,600) to release his nephew from prison, police said.

When he refused, the man apparently threatened to kill him and his nephew. He told Mr Brock that someone would come to his house to pick up the money.

Hall was unaware of the threats Mr Brock had received when she arrived at his house in South Charleston, police said.

The pensioner held her at gunpoint with a pistol, taking her mobile phone and demanding that she reveal the identity of the man who had tried to blackmail him.

‘I’m here to pick up a package’

Hall frantically tried to explain herself, telling Mr Brock in footage captured on her dashboard camera: “Sir, I’m here to pick up a package.” He answered: “Yeah, I know what you’re after.”

She then said she would call the police and attempted to leave, prompting a scuffle at the door of her car. In the process, Mr Brock allegedly shot her three times.

Lt Kristopher Shultz, of the local sheriff’s office, said Hall, 61, was not armed, did not threaten or assault Mr Brock, and “did not have any idea” about the ransom demand.

He continued: “When she tried to get away, he shot her once, then there was more exchange between them.

“Mr Brock was at some point injured to his head, and he shot Ms Hall a second time. There was more conversation, and then he shot her a third time. Only after he shot her a third time did he then make contact with authorities to report the incident.”

Mr Brock pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and posted his $200,000 bond on Wednesday, according to court documents
Mr Brock pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and posted his $200,000 bond on Wednesday, according to court documents - SLMIA/MEGA

In Mr Brock’s 911 call, a recording of which has been released to the media, he explained: “The guy on the phone that’s been trying to get money out of me… he was telling me he’s going to kill me and the family.”

Apparently believing that Hall was prepared to kill him, he said: “I shot her in the leg the first time and then I shot her in the shoulder.”

Hall was taken to a hospital where she died from her injuries. The police statement noted that she was suffering from unspecified medical conditions.

Officers have not identified the person who requested the Uber nor said whether they have made any arrests in connection with the case.

Searching the pensioner’s home after the shooting, they answered a call from a person believed to be the scammer and arranged to meet with him. He did not appear.

Uber working with the police

Mr Brock was indicted on three counts of murder, one count of felonious assault and one count of kidnapping. He will be arraigned on those charges later this week.

Uber said in a statement that the account of the person who hired Hall had been banned and that it was working with the police.

“This is a horrific tragedy, and our hearts continue to be with Loletha’s loved ones as they grieve,” the company said.

“We have been in contact with law enforcement and remain committed to supporting their investigation.”

Mr Brock pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and posted his $200,000 bond on Wednesday, according to court documents.

The sheriff’s office said it wanted to “remind residents, especially our older citizens, that no law enforcement agency or court will make contact with anyone in the manner of this case to solicit cash for bail”.

They should “use extreme caution when being contacted unexpectedly by subjects claiming to be relatives incarcerated in a correctional facility”, it added.