Arrest made in shooting of cab driver

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by Jennifer Thomas and Andrew Michalscheck

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 4:18 PM

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MESA, Ariz. – Mesa police have arrested a man in connection with the shooting of a taxi cab driver on Friday afternoon.

Police said following the shooting they detained a man who matched the description of the suspect in the case.

That man, 28-year-old Matthew Howardell, was considered a "person of interest" and arrested for a prior warrant.

Near where Howardell was arrested, police said they found a discarded handgun and clothing matching what the suspect wore.

Following interviews, police said they booked Howardell on an aggravated assault charge stemming from the shooting.

The shooting in question took place when a cab driver picked up a fare near Country Club Drive and Rio Salado Parkway at about 12:30 p.m. A short time into the ride, the passenger pulled a gun and shot the cabbie.

The suspect then ran from the cab. He is believed to have fired one more shot as he was running away.

The driver ended up in a parking lot near Broadway and Alma School roads and police officers responded to that location.

The victim underwent surgery and reportedly is in serious condition

Late Friday afternoon, Discount Cab released a statement about the shooting:

“Our thoughts and prayers right now are with our independent contractor driver, who is currently in surgery after allegedly being shot in the head by his passenger shortly after picking up the passenger near Alma School and Broadway roads in Mesa. We are cooperating fully with the Mesa Police Department in their investigation of this incident.
 
The safety of both our drivers and our passengers is our number one priority. We encourage anyone who may know anything about this incident to call Mesa Police at 480-644-2030.”

 

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