A 16-year-old girl was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing and hacking an Uber driver to death in suburban Chicago over Memorial Day weekend.
Prosecutors told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that the teenage girl hailed an Uber from a Walmart in Lincolnwood, Illinois, in the early hours of Tuesday. When she got in the car, she began stabbing the driver with a shoplifted machete and knife, prosecutors said.
The driver was identified as Grant Nelson, a 34-year-old resident of Wilmette, Illinois. He had been working for Uber since February 2016, and was well-regarded by his riders, according to a company spokesperson.
He died of his wounds hours later, but was able to give police a description of his attacker.
The teen girl, identified as Eliza Wasni, has been charged as an adult.
According to prosecutors, Wasni was seen walking through Walmart around 3 a.m. Tuesday before walking outside without paying for a machete or knife she was carrying.
Shortly after, Lincolnwood police officers responded to a report of a man “screaming for help.” When they arrived, they found the bloody vehicle, as well as Nelson’s open Uber car.
They eventually located Nelson, who provided a description of his attacker before being transported to Presence St. Francis Hospital, where he died of his wounds.
Nearby, police officers said they encountered a suspect who matched Nelson’s description of his attacker, and who was in possession of weapons that appeared to match those used to stab the driver. The girl, who was hiding behind a building, initially did not comply with requests that she drop the weapons, prosectors said, but was taken into custody after being Tased by officers.
According to police, Wasni did not make a statement after she was taken into custody. Authorities have not provided any potential motives for the attack, although Nelson’s relatives have told local media that they believe the killing was random.
Prosectors also said in court Wednesday that they believe the ride from Nelson was the third time Wasni used the Uber app Monday night.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the company said it was cooperating with police.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of one of our partners,” a spokesperson for Uber said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”