Suspect in cab driver’s death charged with murder

After hopping into a taxi, shooting the driver in the head and leaving her for dead in DeKalb County, a Tennessee man pistol-whipped two other men and ordered them to get on the floor, police said.

Those were some of the new details that emerged Monday following the death of OK Taxi driver Luz Mariana Matheu, who was shot Saturday night after picking up a man at a QuikTrip on Buford Highway.

David Rey Garcia-Mendoza, 23, of Jamestown, Tenn., was arrested Sunday on charges of felony murder, kidnapping, motor vehicle hijacking and armed robbery, Chamblee police Capt. Ernesto Ford said.

According to a Chamblee police incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, officers responded to a person shot call on Plaster Road just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday. They saw several cabs and were directed to follow one of them, according to the police report.

They found Matheu slumped over the steering wheel of a 2015 Toyota Prius that had crashed into a fence in the 2500 block of Woodacres Road.

Claudia Saldarriaga, one of Matheu’s co-workers, was holding a towel to Matheu’s head, according to the incident report.

Saldarriaga told Channel 2 Action News she saw the shooter pull out a gun on Matheu at the QuikTrip. She tried to call 911. She said she couldn’t get through to dispatchers because all of the lines were busy.

Saldarriaga followed Matheu’s cab and alerted drivers in the area to respond.

“We tried calling 911 one more time,” Saldarriaga said. “… same thing. Agents are busy now. By the time they said ‘we’ll send someone over,’ she didn’t have a pulse.”

Matheu died on the scene.

After learning the shooter ran away, Chamblee police launched a search. Police dogs led officers to the home of the men who were pistol-whipped. They told officers an armed man wearing a baseball hat, dark pants and a black collared shirt struck them in the head with a gun.

That armed man, later identified as Garcia-Mendoza, ran outside, police said.

Police captured him in a treeline behind the home. A handgun was found near the location where Garcia-Mendoza was found, Ford said.

“The gun is the suspected handgun used in the crime,” he said.

Authorities later found Garcia-Mendoza’s ID in Matheu’s cab, according to the report.

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