A former Lyft driver faces criminal charges in the stabbing of a passenger but the man's friend insists the driver is not a violent or aggressive person.
Ali Kendirli, 33, is out on bail, accused of stabbing a passenger in the chest Sunday following a disagreement.
Police say Kendirli was driving three people who could not give a location where to be dropped off around 1:16 a.m.
Kendirli told the passengers to get out of the car in the 6100 block of Caminito Del Oeste.
The riders and the driver got into an argument, police said, and Kendirli stabbed one of them in the chest.
Ruth Anne Schmutz is a former neighbor of Kendirli.
"I just felt immediately bad for Ali. Whatever has happened, definitely a bad place to be right now," Schmutz.
She said Kendirli emigrated from Turkey and wanted to become a U.S. citizen.
A nearby resident, who wished only to be identified as Steve, watched the whole thing from his son's bedroom window.
He says Kendirli was insisting he drop his three passengers at a specific address on Caminito Del Oeste.
"Does it really matter to a Lyft driver that they drop them at point A or point B, 10 units down. It makes no sense to anybody," Steve said.
The argument spilled out of the Lyft car and into the street, he said and after voices were raised, the knife came out.
"God forbid there was just one person in the car at that time and something like that would have happened," Steve said.
The driver has been terminated by Lyft. The company sent NBC 7 a statement:
“These allegations are disturbing and unacceptable. The safety of our community has been our number one priority from day one, and there is absolutely no tolerance for this behavior on the Lyft platform.
We have permanently deactivated the driver. Our thoughts are with the passenger, who we have reached out to offer our full support and assistance. We stand ready to assist law enforcement with an investigation.”
San Diego Police Western Division detectives are investigating.
Records indicate Kendirli is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and is currently out on bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned on July 5.