DAYTON — The widow of a rideshare driver killed last week is speaking out about her husband and the teens accused of taking his life.
The Lyft driver, identified as Brandon Cooper, 35, of Beavercreek, was found in the 1000 block of Ferguson Avenue dead after he’d been shot and crashed into another car, police said.
Investigators believe the juveniles were also attempting to rob Cooper when he was shot and killed.
Coopers’ wife talked with News Center 7 Monday, the same day we uncovered two more reports of rideshare driver attacks that the juveniles in custody are accused of committing.
“Maybe he was just hurt in a car accident, he would be OK,” said his wife, Brittney Cooper. “It was worse than what I thought.”
Brittney had been with Cooper for the last 12 years– they were married five years ago at the Dayton Art Institute.
News Center 7 asked her about the last time she saw him when he headed out for his shift as a Lyft driver.
“He came in to give me a kiss goodnight and to leave, he leaned over me and gave me a kiss and said I love you,” Brittney said.
Brittney told Cooper she loved him but never imagined it would be the last time they’d be together.
Dayton police received calls about a crash, where they discovered Cooper with a fatal gunshot wound in his car.
Their investigation led them to another attack on a Lyft driver two hours earlier and eventually to a home where they discovered the stolen car and arrested a number of juvenile males. Five different teens appeared in juvenile court the next day.
News Center 7 learned the teens are suspected of two more attacks on rideshare drivers, three days before the fatal shooting.
“This is so urgent, they just threatened my life with a gun and stole my car,” an Uber Eats driver said in a 911 call.
She told sheriffs deputies she was passing the food to a customer when a young male walked up and pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her if she didn’t give him her phone.
“They had me take them to Pawtucket and then they pulled the gun out on me,” she said.
A different Uber driver called six hours later from the same apartment complex after also being carjacked.
That report said “(Driver) begged them to allow her to keep her house keys. The suspects allowed her to keep her house keys….while removing her house keys, one of the suspects said, ‘She is taking too long, just shoot her.’”
Deputies and Dayton police believe the same group of 15 and 16-year-old teens took part in all four incidents, ending with the fatal shooting of Cooper.
“I know him, I didn’t have to be there to know exactly what he would have said, ‘you don’t have to do this,’” Brittney said.
Brittney told News Center 7 Cooper was much more than a rideshare driver. She said he was a game designer and believed strongly in supporting other young men. She can’t believe her husband is gone over something she believes is so senseless.
“We can’t get him back, a car can be replaced,” she said.
The first two incidents where rideshare drivers were targeted happened at an apartment complex near Pawtucket Street. It’s also a spot that deputies are trying to contact rideshare companies to have their drivers avoid, because of the crimes that have been committed.
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