SHALIMAR — More details emerged Wednesday in the shooting death of a 29-year-old Uber driver who authorities say was killed by a former taxi cab operator on Okaloosa Island early Sunday.
Okaloosa County sheriff's investigators say Filip Kirilov, of Destin, was found dead from three gunshot wounds in the driver’s seat of his minivan at 6:30 a.m. They believe he was shot and killed nearly two hours earlier by 35-year-old Destin resident Timothy Layne Anderson, who was arrested late Tuesday and charged with one count of first-degree premeditated murder.
At a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff Larry Ashley praised the work of investigators, and said they were confident they had apprehended the person responsible for the crime.
“We believe this incident is an isolated occurrence committed by a cold and calculated killer,” Ashley said. “With that said, we certainly encourage all service providers to invest in personal security, whether that’s video cameras or other types of protection.”
In a 911 call released Wednesday morning by the Sheriff’s Office, a man called dispatchers to say he had just arrived for work on the beach when he found the blue van in the middle of the intersection and a person apparently dead from gunshot wounds in the driver’s seat.
“There’s blood on the floor, a bullet hole in the window, and I can see on the window he has an Uber tag inside,” the caller said. “The guy’s got blood on his shirt and he looks like he’s honestly not alive.”
Investigators say they obtained audio and video footage from inside Kirilov’s van containing a recording of a man’s voice instructing Kirilov where to drop him off. Thirty seconds later, the first gunshot is heard, followed by two more. In the video, authorities say Anderson is seen running south from the van.
Investigators say Anderson obtained a burner phone from Walmart 11 days before the shooting and used it, along with the name “Joe Smith,” to hail the Uber cab early Sunday. They believe once he arrived at his destination near where he used to live, he shot Kirilov three times before fleeing. Kirilov is believed to have died at 4:37 a.m.
Police say Anderson took another Uber back home to Destin within an hour after he allegedly killed Kirilov.
Anderson was brought in for questioning Tuesday night and was arrested after authorities say he changed his story when he was confronted with evidence.
Anderson is being held in the Okaloosa County Jail without bond. Okaloosa County Judge Angela Mason appointed a public defender for him at his first appearance in court on Wednesday morning.
When Mason asked Anderson at the first apepearance if he understood the charge prosecutors had levied against him, Anderson said the charge was “unheard of.” He didn’t elaborate on that statement, and the public defender advised him to be quiet.
At the press conference, Ashley said authorities had not yet established a clear motive in the shooting, but did point to two previous Northwest Florida Daily News articles from 2015 and 2017 in which Anderson spoke out about his dislike for ride-booking apps Uber and Lyft. Among other things, he claimed the rise of Uber and Lyft cost him his job as a taxi driver.
Additionally, court documents obtained by the Daily News show Anderson has a history of frustration with the companies going back at at least three years.
In an interview with the Destin Log, the Daily News’ sister paper, in July 2015, Anderson said he had plans to band together with other local taxi drivers to file a class action lawsuit against Uber. He claimed Uber's drivers were operating illegally and taking money away from taxi operators.
“The thing that made me write the lawsuit was the overwhelming amount of incidents of operating without a for-hire permit,” Anderson told the Log in 2015. “We’ve got 100 records of law violations, and what I have a problem with is, there are no warnings to the drivers of Uber or Lyft that they are breaking the law or are subject to arrest.”
It’s unclear whether Anderson filed the lawsuit in 2015. However, he did file a federal lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Pensacola on Dec. 7, 2017, on behalf of himself, two other people and “a growing class of nationally permitted drivers who drive or have driven a for-hire vehicle with a permit for income.”
In the 120-page complaint filed with the court, which he appeared to write himself, Anderson takes issue with Uber’s marketing and recruiting strategies for drivers, and says the company cost taxi cab drivers fare money in places where it operated.
“Effectually, the permitted drivers (taxi cab drivers) were finding less people who needed rides and (losing) the income they had the right to earn,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit also alleges Uber participated in false advertising, unfair competition and “obtaining money by means of false or fraudulent pretenses,” according to court records.
The most recent action taken in the case was June 13 — the same day authorities say Anderson went to Walmart and bought a burner phone he later used to hail the Uber the day he allegedly shot Kirilov. According to court records, Anderson tried to use the U.S. Marshals Service on June 13 to serve Uber with the lawsuit at its headquarters in California, but the service was returned unexecuted because the U.S. Marshals Service said “it is not defendant’s agent for service of process.”
After the failed service, the judge said Anderson had 14 days to serve the defendant effectively or the suit would be dismissed.
In addition to civil court filings, Anderson had a lengthy criminal history in Okaloosa County. Court records show 37 separate closed cases against him dating back to 1999, including 11 charges of failure to pay tolls, 12 speeding tickets, cocaine possession, narcotics equipment possession and marijuana possession.
One person who knew Anderson said he was shocked to learn Anderson had been charged with murder.
Preston McMinn, who works as a photographer in Destin, said he was a neighbor of Anderson’s on Bayou Drive in Destin. He said didn’t know Anderson very well, but had spoken to him on two separate occasions and said he appeared to be normal.
“The first time he approached me, I was pulling my surfboard out of the car and he asked me if the waves were up and I told him, ‘Yeah,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, right on man,’ ” McMinn said. “I thought he was a decent guy. I didn’t think much of him."
The second time they talked, McMinn said Anderson expressed interest in an old car McMinn had purchased as a project.
“He walked everywhere from what I saw, so he seemed like a guy who was rebuilding,” McMinn said. “He clearly had a schedule. I saw him walking to work. He just seemed like a typical person in Destin who was just working hard.”