An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said.
Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday.
The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night.
Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver.
The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said.
Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense.
"This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself," he said.
Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.
"He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'" Patterson said.
Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself.
Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away.
"You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down," Patterson said.
Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail.
He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday.
Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app:
“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app”
A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers.
Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.
I was the only reporter on the scene as the Uber Eats driver accused of murdering a customer turned himself in. Why he says he opened fire. That’s coming up at 5. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/hqDoK5meMR— Tom Jones (@TomJonesWSBTV) February 19, 2018
Morehouse College sent the following statement:
"The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports.
"Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job.
"Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.
"President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.
“ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”
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