Matthew Howardell (Source: Mesa Police Department)
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -
Police say they've arrested a man in connection with a shooting that injured a cab driver in Mesa on Friday.
Mesa police spokesman Tony Landato said the 46-year-old Discount Cab driver said he picked up a man near the 500 block of West Ninth Place and was just starting to leave the area when he heard a loud pop.
He reported slamming on the brakes, stopping and then the suspect took another shot at him before jumping out of the cab and running off, according to Landato.
The cab driver called 911, about 12:35 p.m. Friday, saying he had been shot and was driving to the hospital.
Landato said dispatch convinced him to pull over and he stopped at 1320 W. Broadway, where emergency responders found him.
The victim's coworkers said he was shot twice in the head at close range with a small caliber weapon but miraculously survived.
He underwent surgery at Scottsdale Osborn Hospital and is currently recovering at home.
Police arrested 28-year-old Matthew Howardell on Friday night on aggravated assault charges and prohibited possessor.
Police are uncertain what the motive was.
The president of Total Transit, the parent company of Discount Cab, Michael Pinckard released the following statement on Friday:
"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."
Drivers of Discount Cab is holding a fundraiser for the victim, Milton Odom.
The car wash was is scheduled for September 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Wash Wizard located at 1845 E. University, at the southeast corner of University Drive and McClintock Drive. Wash Wizard has agreed to donate 35 percent of all carwash proceeds to Odom and fellow Discount Cab drivers will be on hand to collect additional donations.
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