GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Montgomery County police have arrested an Uber driver for attempted murder after police said he tried to shoot two officers with a homemade weapon.
Police have charged 52-year-old Jonathan Hemming with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and other assault, firearms-related and drug-related charges.
Hemming, who was wanted on outstanding warrant for drug-related charges, was being surveilled by detectives in the 16000 block of Comprint Court in Gaithersburg last Wednesday afternoon on May 18. He was seen entering his landlord's car in which he sometimes used to provide rides and detectives approached Hemming to arrest him.
Police said Hemming then became combative and attempted to resist arrest, reaching into the vehicle to grab a homemade handgun that was capable of firing shotgun rounds. After he pointed the weapon at the detectives, a Taser was used to apprehend him.
Hemming also had a second homemade handgun, shotgun shells and ammunition for a handgun in his pants pockets.
Police said Hemming made the homemade guns ready to fire in order to avoid reloading, indicating he was "prepared to fire upon multiple targets."
Hemming is a convicted felon in Ohio and Florida. Uber will not say how long he drove for the company or if customers felt safe with him as their driver.
In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said, "Upon learning of these allegations, we immediately removed the driver's access to the platform. We have been in contact with law enforcement to assist in their investigation in any way we can."
Uber said the company performed a standard background check on Hemming, who lives in Gaithersburg. But they would not say how his lengthy criminal record still allowed him to be a driver for the ride-sharing company.
"Of course there is a degree of pre-screening that is an important part of that, but the technology is designed to ensure that before, during and after the trip, people have a way to get to access and get in touch and feel safe whenever they need to," said Meghan Joyce, the East Coast General Manager for Uber.
Hemming is being held without bond.