Garza uber austin

Uber Driver Defends Himself With Firearm And Gets Fired, Per Uber Policy: What’s Your Take?


AUSTIN, TEXAS — A former military policeman and a concealed handgun license instructor, Deven Garza decided to try his luck making some extra cash with Uber.  Unfortunately for him, one of his fares got violent after his passengers couldn’t agree where they wanted to go.  Intoxicated and aggressive, the man was forcefully grabbing the Garza’s arm.  Garza reached for his mace to subdue the irate passenger but unfortunately it wasn’t there.  That’s when, according to KVUE, the situation escalated.

Garza said finally he came to a stop at the McNeil Road exit, but the man was still fighting with him. The mace Garza said he keeps in the driver’s door was not there, so he reached for his gun.

The man tried to grab my gun and I was not about to let that happen,” Garza said.

Garza said the gun fired, missing the gearshift and steering wheel. No one was hit, and Garza said the couple took off after the gunshot.

Garza immediately filed a report with the police but unfortunately, this whole incident cost him his job with Uber.  As per Uber’s changed policy, drivers are no longer allowed to defend themselves with firearms.  Garza claims Uber never informed him of this change in policy and plans to fight the company’s policy in Austin.

Let’s turn the tables back to the audience.  Obviously, we have no idea of what actually occurred in that vehicle but based upon the news reports – do you feel pulling a firearm was justified under these circumstances?

Tell us your thoughts.  And if you believe pulling a gun wasn’t called for – throw out some ideas for how you can de-escalate an event like that without resorting to a gun.  You can also check out one of our writer’s thoughts on when using a firearm is appropriate.

About James England | View all posts by James England

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry…

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 36 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his CZ-75D PCR in an Alien Gear MOD holster.

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  • Dan Magz

    you would think a former MP would be able to defend himself without drawing his weapon .. especially in that situation…. I drive a taxi everyday and there are often times this situation comes up…..i’m sure he has even trained ppl to get clear of the situation.. turn off and step out of the vehicle, call police…especially for uber .. the persons info is right on the app if im not mistaken…

    • Ash Spells

      Garza said finally he came to a stop at the McNeil Road exit, but the
      man was still fighting with him. The mace Garza said he keeps in the
      driver’s door was not there, so he reached for his gun.

      So based on the first sentence he wasn’t in a position to stop until the he reached the exit and prior to that, the passenger was forcefully grabbing his arm. If he wasn’t in a position to stop until the exit, the passenger basically put the driver in a very serious situation of a crash. At that point yes, a gun was necessary. Also even as an MP he more than likely doesn’t have training to defend himself while driving (which is probably why he kept mace as it doesn’t really require aiming.)

  • Massolo

    He was being assaulted, so it is up to the individual to decide what force is necessary to protect himself. Being a taxi driver is one of the most hazardous jobs out there.

    • PILawyer

      No, it is not at the full discretion of the individual. The law sets the parameters, and if you step over the line, you are looking at criminal prosecution in addition to any civil action that may be brought.

  • Jim Flora

    If that’s all the passenger did was grab his arm he had no business pulling gun anyways because he would have used it he would go to jail at least in the state of Pennsylvania if the guy didn’t have a weapon he had no business pulling his gun and I think there’s more to it then the company change in a policy and did not notify him that’s kind of hard to believe

    • PILawyer

      Agreed. If the fare had put the driver into a choke hold or punched his head, the case could be made for drawing the gun and executing a lethal response, but an arm grab just doesn’t get you there.

  • PILawyer

    Did he have a reasonable fear of imminent death or severe bodily injury? Hard to make the case for pulling a gun by this description. The driver should have had a non-lethal alternative in the vehicle, however, such as a kubaton or pepper spray.

    • Vlahdi Vahstard

      Let’s put this in perspective. So a drunk, irate passenger is fighting you and grabbing your arm while driving. At this point you want to ask yourself if that’s enough reason? That’s enough reason to to cause death or severe bodily injury! Or maybe you should text someone first and get a second opinion (oh wait, texting and driving is also one of the most causes of road accidents). A “kubaton”, seriously?

      • PILawyer

        Oh, I’m sorry. I just don’t like the idea of spending my life’s savings and years of my life defending a potential homicide charge and the related civil lawsuit. Maybe you relish the thought of protracted legal battles following the use of lethal force, but I do not. So, yes, I would not go from Zero-to-Lethal unless the facts warrant it.

        • PILawyer

          The vehicle was stopped at the time the driver went for his gun, so your rationale is null and void.

          • No, his argument is not void. The driver was astute enough to realize that pulling the gun while driving would have been bad. So, he waited till he could pull over. When he finally did, THEN he pulled out his gun.

            And I’d rather be alive and spending my life savings to defend my reputation than dead with my reputation and family shattered.

          • PILawyer

            It is void if he is arguing that the driver was going to run off the road, thereby creating the threat of imminent severe bodily harm or death. This is not supported by the facts, so all you have is an arm grab in a stopped car…Not enough facts to justify lethal force deployment. Take an advanced handgun self-defense course and learn the legal realities and consequences of resorting to lethal weapons in the face of non-lethal attack. You’ll think twice about making the gun your only option. I carry a .45 daily, but I also have a lesser alternative for the situations that do not warrant lethal force.

          • Michael Zenzer

            He did have a non-lethal, pepper spray, according to the article, but he couldn’t find it when he needed it. And Texas has no duty to retreat correct and a drunk, aggressive person was assaulting him from the rear, at that point I think he could reasonably fear for his life. There were two of them back there as well, putting him at a further disadvantage. And since he wasn’t arrested, I’d say that the law agreed with him.

          • PILawyer

            So, based on your logical interpretation of “stand your ground”, if someone spits at you, you don’t have a duty to retreat and the green light is on to start poppin’ a cap in some ass. Seriously, “stand your ground” also requires a properly measured response and does not excuse a lethal response to a non-lethal threat. Moreover, the story said only one of the fares was grabbing at him. It was not two against one. What if that stray bullet had gone into the fare that was not touching the driver? The law would probably frown on that, don’t you think?

          • Ripper

            I suspect an ex-military policeman and a concealed carry instructor would know when to draw his weapon. smh

          • PILawyer

            Just because he is one, doesn’t mean he is a good one. And we should be policing our own and calling out stupidity when we see it because the stupid in our midst are a greater threat to our freedoms than any liberal anti-gunner. There are bogus carry instructors who have been busted around the country for setting up substandard curriculum designed to take the money but not providing the level of training required by the particular state. Don’t just blindly stick up for someone because he is one of “us”. The author of this article, by the way, says pretty much the same things I am saying in his other articles linked above. Follow the rules people and know where every shot is going. Pulling a gun in such close proximity in response to an arm grab, and then not maintaining control of the weapon so that you discharge an errant round in the cabin of your vehicle is not exercising good defensive judgment.

        • williamdiamon

          I would rather be tried by 12, than carried by 6.

    • my2cents

      he said he carried peeper spray but couldn’t find it if you read the article!

      • PILawyer

        He couldn’t find it, so he might as well have not had it. Being prepared is being prepared. Maybe he should have stored the pepper spray with the gun.

  • JohnLockeFan

    This is why I won’t call Uber for a ride; there’s other Taxi Services that won’t insist that I go unarmed.

  • Wizardny

    A 3 or 4 thousand pound vehicle is one hell of a weapon when it’s out of control. someone attacking the driver puts everyone in the vehicle at risk and everyone in it’s path. A cop can shoot a fleeing felon if he has reasonable suspicion that the individual may be an immediate danger to others. I see where this is no different. I don’t agree with Uber’s policy and wouldn’t use their service.

  • CMac

    I’m bummed he didn’t shoot the would be robber. If he’d gotten the gun away the poor driver would be dead. Uber Sucks. Retired people with CCW’s should all apply just to mess with them

    • PILawyer

      Nothing in the story indicates a robbery.

  • my2cents

    I would say pull over, turn off the car and get out- demand that they get out- when they do – leave!

  • Ray Turley

    This man made the choice to use his weapon. While in this circumstance I believe he had
    other options he did what he felt he had to do. Hit the brakes hard comes to mind.
    Let’s use some common sense out there people. If you are driving someone and they become
    combative stop the car and get out till they calm down. This is not a gun rights issue as much as it
    is a common sense issue. The driver clearly had proper training but likely could have exorcized better judgment.

  • be_free

    If he felt that his life or safety was threatened, which he obviously did, he was absolutely right in defending himself (also, he is former military cop after all and is supposedly trained and experienced in evaluating danger). It’s possible that the situation could have gotten de-escalated, but it’s difficult to have an opinion about if you’re not there. It needs to be pointed out however, that an attacked person’s priority is not the well being of the attacker, but of self. If the attacker is aggressive, there is no incentive or logic for an attacked person to resort to de-escalation techniques that may or may not work. Aggressive outbursts happens in seconds with intoxicated or drug affected people and preservation of self comes first.

  • Paul Crowley

    I just carry, don’t worry about it, if need be I’ll use it, nobody else obeys the law, if you don’t protect your self your f_____.

  • Gary McCauley

    Independent contractors are NOT employees

  • Stu Chisholm

    Seems that they prefer their drivers dead. Dude needs a good lawyer and Uber needs a lesson in reality.

    • Kyle Guthrie

      They’ll lose. Gun owners are considered pariahs in most metropolitan courtrooms. Also, the business can have whatever rules it wants. Well, unless they dont want to bake a cake I suppose.

      • Stu Chisholm

        A bad assumption; self-defense tends to win, especially when the attacker was armed. Also, businesses CANNOT have “whatever rules it wants”; there are laws against many discriminatory laws, such as age, sex or racial discrimination. There are others as well, including laws against unsafe working conditions. I’d think there’s plenty of room to sue employers for tying the hands of employees who want to take responsibility for their own safety while, at the same time, taking none themselves.

        • Kyle Guthrie

          Perhaps in your state that would fly. In CA, if the guy i draw on isnt standing over me with a fire ax, on meth, with a long rap sheet, im going to jail. And fired ill be.

          The constitution is just words on paper in sunny CA.

          • Stu Chisholm

            LOL — That’s probably true! You have my sympathies. :)

  • Rich7553


  • yoshi saidit

    “The mace Garza said he keeps in the driver’s door was not there, so he reached for his gun.

    “The man tried to grab my gun and I was not about to let that happen,” Garza said.” -quote

    Contradict much? This looks like a classic case of “lets infringe on the 2nd some more, get the ppl fighting over fake ass reports.”

    You ALL, have been duped.

  • Nisi Smith

    My husband was a cab driver in Burlington, Washington in 1997. On March 20 of that year he was killed when an 18 year old wanting drug money hit him in the head with a rock causing him to hit the gas pedal. The car crashed into the wall of a school and caught on fire, killing my husband. Daniel Moody Turner got out of the cab, went to a friend’s house to wash my husband’s blood from his clothes, then took the bloodstained money to buy drugs. I believe all cab drivers should have some method of self defense. They are sitting ducks and for Uber to openly state their drivers are not allowed to carry firearms makes them even more so.

    • BOBT12

      I am sad to hear about your loss. You are certainly correct that drivers should have some means of defense. Gun Free Zones are kill boxes, and they are labeled to let the criminals know that they are in a safe working area.

    • Cnon

      Sorry for your loss.

  • Gennae Angelina

    And if the driver wound up dead, then Yoober would sit and offer an apology to his family and go on bitching that they keep guns out of employees hands for everyone’s alledged safety.

    • BOBT12


  • williamdiamon

    Everyone who works for a company with policies like this has to make their own decision. On one hand you have a minimum wage job, on the other you have your life…
    Let’s see…minimum wage job…my life…minimum wage job…my life…hmmm
    That why I carry everywhere I go, It’s a simple matter of wardrobe, and Uber ain’t my Mommy.

    • Kyle Guthrie

      no doubt, its a policy that they can trot out when they are taken to court, “We have a no-guns policy for all our drivers”

      They know it will not be followed, and dont care…until they are in court.

      • williamdiamon

        It’s usually insurance companies that push those policies on the stores. They’re afraid of the possibility of an employee unjustly harming a someone, then being sued. The criminals sometimes prey on the customers specifically because of those policies however, like “gun free zones” as they prefer safe self – disarmed victims.

        • BOBT12

          It’s sad that the guy was fired for defending himself. But at least he is alive to talk about it. All of this insurance folly is changing the character of the nation.

          • williamdiamon

            Yes, at least he’s alive. Again decisions decisions, minimum wage job…Your life…
            Maybe if they considered all life to be worth defending.