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Uber drivers voice safety concerns after driver shot on southeast side

Police said the shooting happened Friday in the 7900 block of Penobscot Drive, near South Franklin and Brookville roads, around 9:30 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — An Uber driver is recovering after being shot Friday morning on the southeast side of Indianapolis. 

Police said the shooting happened in the 7900 block of Penobscot Drive, near Brookville and South Franklin roads, around 9:30 a.m. 

Police said the driver was taken to a hospital in good condition, but the shooting is raising concerns among fellow ride-share drivers.

"I don't work at night, but I work days so I feel a lot more safe, but that shooting this morning at 9:30 does give you some pause," said Uber driver Michael Leslie. 

Leslie, an Uber driver for six years, said violence against drivers seems to be getting worse. He wants the ride-share company to increase safety.

"Uber/Lyft don't vet these customers," said Leslie. "Some of these names that we're picking up are not real names."

Leslie said that makes it hard to trust who's getting in your car.

According to Uber's website, the company has certain safety features like GPS tracking, and an in-app emergency button to call authorities.

Leslie said Uber doesn't allow permitless carry, but some drivers do to stay safe.

"You don't know if the person's name is the actual person getting in your car," said Leslie. "You don't know if they're ordering it for a different person. You just don't know."

They are unknowns he wants Uber to fix.

"Drivers should be allowed to protect ourselves," said Leslie. "It's our vehicle. it's our lives. If we're not going to be safe, drivers are going to refuse to pick up those rides and it's a shame for the other people who live in those areas who need to get to work. They might have to wait longer, or they will have to find another way to get to work because of the actions of a few."

This is the second time in less than a month that a ride-share driver was shot in Indianapolis.

Officers called to an apartment complex near I-465 and I-74 on the morning of June 30 found 34-year-old Anthony Garland lying in a grassy area. He had been shot to death.

Detectives were able to identify Garland thanks to a missing persons investigation. Police learned Garland was working as a ride-share driver for Lyft and his car was missing.

According to court documents, Lyft was able to establish 24-year-old Devin Powell as the last ride that was scheduled for Garland.

Police used GPS tracking to locate Garland's car in Merrillville, where Powell was driving. The suspect first denied being involved in the shooting and had just found the car running, but later admitted to shooting the driver and taking his car.

Police have not released any suspect information in Friday's shooting. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

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