Ex-Uber driver convicted of trying to kill Maryland cop with homemade miniature shotgun

Ex-Uber driver Jonathan Hemming convicted of trying to kill Md. cop with homemade miniature shotgun. (Montgomery County Police)

A former Uber driver with an extensive criminal record has been convicted of trying to kill a Montgomery County Police officer with a homemade miniature shotgun and assaulting a second officer.

On May 18, 2016, around 3:30 p.m., a group of undercover officers surrounded Jonathan Hemming's car along the 16000 block of Comprint Court in Gaithersburg as he and his wife were leaving a doctor's office.

The officers, assigned to the Repeat Offender Unit, had a bench warrant to arrest Hemming, then 52, of Gaithersburg, for multiple drug offenses, according to court documents.

When Hemming resisted, a struggle broke out, police said. Hemming reached into the car’s glove compartment and grabbed a homemade handgun capable of firing shotgun rounds. Police said he pointed it at two detectives’ heads and tried unsuccessfully to fire the weapon.

In court, Hemming said he was moving one of his homemade guns to look for insurance papers, but he said he didn’t point it at the officers.

After putting Hemming in handcuffs, police said they found a second homemade weapon in his vehicle. They also found a needle cap, prescription vial, syringe, rubber tie off straps, live shotgun shells, live handgun rounds, pill bottle, metal pill holder, handcuff key, garden clippers, and pocket knife in his pant pockets.

Hemming later admitted to detectives that he had researched how to build firearms online. He also explained that he knew the devices were capable of firing.

Hemming was employed as an Uber driver when he was arrested and the car he was driving had Uber placards on it.

He had a lengthy felony record in Florida, Maryland and Ohio for numerous crimes, including weapons possession, arson, armed robbery, burglary, cocaine possession, vehicle theft and malicious destruction of property.

Uber requires that all driver applicants submit to a background check before being approved to drive. So ABC7 wanted to know how Hemming was approved with a criminal record.

Uber didn’t respond at first to an email query about Hemming, but after the story aired on ABC7 News in 2016, an Uber spokesperson emailed with this statement:

"Upon learning of these allegations, we immediately removed the driver's access to the platform. We have been in contact with law enforcement to assist in their investigation in any way we can."

According to a statement from the Office of the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County on Wednesday, Jonathan Hemming, 54, of Gaithersburg, Maryland was convicted by a jury of attempted murder, first-degree assault, and several firearms charges.

Hemming is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17 at 9 a.m. He faces the potential penalty of life imprisonment plus approximately 93 years, according to the state’s attorney’s statement.

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