What we know about the shooting of an Uber driver in Ohio and the scam surrounding it

What we know about the shooting of an Uber driver in Ohio and the scam surrounding it

It was a common scam that ended with an uncommon outcome, tragically in an Ohio driveway.

William J. Brock fatally shot an Uber driver because he wrongly assumed she was part of a scheme to extract $12,000 in supposed bond money for a relative, authorities said this week. Lo-Letha Hall was a victim of the same con, summoned by the grifters to Brock’s house to retrieve a purported package for delivery.

Brock later told investigators he believed Hall arrived to get the money the scammers wanted.

He is now facing murder charges, to which he’s pleaded not guilty. Hall’s family is grieving. And Uber is helping investigators to try to catch whoever was behind the attempted swindle.

The grift is commonly known as a grandparent scam or fraud, exploiting older people’s love for their family, experts say. Callers claim to be anyone from grandchildren to police, telling victims something terrible happened and that their younger relative needs money.

Here’s what we know about the shooting and the investigation so far:


Brock, 81, received scam calls the morning of March 25 at his home in South Charleston, a town of about 1,800 people between Dayton and Columbus. The calls regarded an incarcerated relative and “turned to threats and a demand for money,” according to a statement from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

While Brock was on the phone, Hall got a request through the Uber app to pick up a package from Brock’s house for delivery, the sheriff’s office said. Hall, 61, of Columbus, was unaware of the attempted scam.

“Upon being contacted by Ms. Hall, Mr. Brock produced a gun and held her at gunpoint, making demands for identities of the subjects he had spoken with on the phone,” the sheriff’s office said.

Hall was unarmed and never threatened Brock or made any demands of him, the sheriff’s office said.

Brock took Hall’s cellphone and refused to let her leave, the sheriff’s office said. When she tried to get back into her car, Brock shot her. He shot her a second time and a third time during subsequent scuffles.

Police body camera footage shows him briefly discussing what he said had happened.

This booking photo released by the Clark County, Ohio, Sheriff's Office, shows William Brock, an Ohio man who authorities say fatally shot an Uber driver who he thought was trying to rob him after scam phone calls deceived them both. Brock, 81, is charged with murder, felonious assault and kidnapping in the March 25, 2024, shooting death of Uber driver Loletha Hall. (Clark County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This booking photo released by the Clark County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office, shows William Brock, an Ohio man who authorities say fatally shot an Uber driver who he thought was trying to rob him after scam phone calls deceived them both. (Clark County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

“I’m sure glad to see you guys out here because I’ve been on this phone for a couple hours with this guy trying to say to me I had a nephew in jail and had a wreck in Charleston and just kept hanging on and needing bond money,” Brock said. “And this woman was supposed to get it.”

The footage shows investigators discussing $12,000 sitting on a table in Brock’s house.

The footage also shows a Clark County Sheriff’s Office detective in Brock’s house talking on the phone with a man who was talking to Brock earlier. He identified himself as an officer and told the detective, “You’re going to be in trouble.”

When the detective identified herself as an actual police officer, the phone disconnected. During a subsequent phone call with the man, the detective told him the Uber driver was in a serious accident, in the hospital and “not doing well.”

Brock was indicted on Monday of charges of murder, assault and kidnapping. He posted $200,000 bail and was released from the Clark County Jail on Wednesday. His attorney, Paul Kavanagh, did not immediately return an email seeking comment on Friday.


Grandparent scams have become increasingly common in the last 10 to 15 years — in part because of the abundance of personal information available about people online, said Anthony Pratkanis, an emeritus psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Criminals retrieve specific details about someone’s relative on social media and use the information to convince victims that their loved one is in trouble, said Pratkanis, whose research includes fraud crimes.

“Basically what the criminal is doing is taking advantage of our human nature,” he said. “You’re in a panic state, high emotional arousal. It’s a fear appeal. And the best way to get rid of that fear is to give the criminal that money.”

“Most people in today’s kind of scams don’t really have interactions with the criminal — there’s a distance,” Pratkanis said. “But when there isn’t, there’s an opportunity for the anger of being victimized to cause the victim to take action.”

Uber said Wednesday that it was helping investigators look into an account that sent Hall to Brock’s home. The ride-hailing company described Hall’s death as “a horrific tragedy.”


An obituary for Hall described her as the parent of a son and a stepson, a devoted member of her church and a talented cook known for delicious pound cakes.

At a memorial service that was streamed online, her son Mario Hall spoke of how close they were even though they lived in different states, often speaking on the phone multiple times a day. He said they “had a bond like no other.”

“Thank you for all your sacrifices and all the things you have instilled in me,” he said. “You are the best mom that anyone could ask for. And I promise to continue to make you proud.”