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Portland Uber driver recounts shooting that left him injured, passenger dead

Portland police identified the man killed as 25-year-old Zamere Bentley.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Josiah Kuehl survived a deadly shooting last month while driving for Uber. The husband and father of three is beyond grateful to be alive, but he still has a long way to go before he feels like himself again.

"The biggest, hardest hit is I can't help out as much as I used to," Kuehl said. "I can't pick up my son well. I can't change his diaper. I can't do it one-handed."

Kuehl's life changed on the night of July 19. Kuehl said he was driving a man to the Kenton neighborhood. The passenger was on the phone, but nothing seemed unusual about it at the time. 

"Nobody followed us or anything," he said. "What I should've caught on to, which didn't seem abnormal until it was all said and done — the person on the phone kept asking exactly what time they'd show up."

Perhaps it was a clue to what happened next.

Kuehl said as he was dropping off his passenger on North McClellan Street, near Denver Avenue, a car pulled up and somebody inside started shooting.

"The first round I heard, I knew it was gunfire going over," Kuehl said. "It's a unique sound you'll never forget. It hit my driver's window and broke it and I got down and they started opening fire on us. Surprisingly my passenger was able to get back in the car and tell me to drive."

RELATED: Uber driver injured in North Portland shooting, 1 other person killed

Kuehl floored it. He eventually stopped on North Terry Street near Interstate Avenue. That is when he noticed his passenger, later identified as 25-year-old Zamere Bentley, had been shot and killed. Kuehl was also hit by gunfire.

"I took a graze bullet to this forearm here," he said. "Took a graze to the back of the hand and took three rounds to the arm right here."

Kuehl spent about a week in the hospital before medical staff discharged him. Since then, he has done his best to go about his life. He has even attended a concert, but by no means has it been easy.

Credit: Ashley Kuehl
Josiah Kuehl and his wife, Ashley, at a concert in Ridgefield, Wash.

"I think I'm blessed but I feel sorry for the passenger," Kuehl said. "That's what I keep thinking when I think back to that night. Could I help him? I wish I could have done more."

Kuehl is hoping police can track down the gunman. It would be justice for the man who died and Kuehl, who is still grappling with the idea of going back to work for Uber.

"I haven't decided," he said. "That's a tough decision. Do you want to provide for your family or put your life at risk? It's a decision I haven't made yet."

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Portland Police Bureau.

Kuehl's family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses in the wake of the shooting.

RELATED: Victim of deadly east Portland shooting was a father of eight, friends say

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