HOUSTON — A man and woman were charged in connection with the shooting of an Uber driver during an attempted carjacking near the Eastex Freeway Sunday night, according to the Houston Police Department.
Manny Diaz-Massa, 18, and Mariah Williams, 28, are both charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, according to court records. Williams is in custody while police are still searching for Diaz-Massa.
Houston police said the shooting happened just before 11 p.m. on Quitman Street near the Eastex Freeway in Fifth Ward.
After the Uber driver picked up the suspects at the motel on the West Sam Houston Parkway and drove them to a spot on Davis Street near the Eastex Freeway. Police said after arriving, Williams went inside a home and asked the driver to wait a couple of minutes.
After waiting in the car with Diaz-Massa for 20 minutes, the driver told him he could no longer take them to their second destination and that they needed to find a new Uber driver.
According to court documents, Diaz-Massa then started to threaten the Uber driver and Williams cursed at him too. The driver then agreed to take them to a gas station on Quitman Road.
When they arrived at the gas station, the couple asked the driver to park on the far side of the parking lot where it was dark and secluded, court documents state. That set off red flags with the driver, who refused and parked in a well-lit area instead.
Then the driver ordered them to get out of the vehicle. He turned off the car, grabbed his phone and went to open the back door of the vehicle where Williams and her Dalmatian dog got out of the car, police said. Diaz-Massa then got out and approached the victim as he sat in the driver’s seat.
According to court documents, Diaz-Massa shoved a gun into the driver’s side and told him to give him the keys to the car. During a struggle, he said the suspect shot him in the leg.
Police said the driver was taken to a hospital where he's expected to be OK.
Police said they found surveillance video that match the victim’s description of what happened. The video also showed Diaz-Massa running away from the scene while Williams left the scene in another Uber.
Investigators said they went to the motel where the suspects were originally picked up and found surveillance video of the couple arriving the day before in the same clothing worn during the robbery. Employees there said they knew Williams, who is the daughter of a permanent tenant at the motel.
Investigators were able to contact Williams who led them to Diaz-Massa. She also told them of another case in which he was charged with attacking a pregnant woman.
This was one of two crimes where Uber drivers were attacked in the Houston area this week.
The driver, who does not want to be identified, is an immigrant from El Salvador who said he's been driving for Uber for five years without any issues. He said he loved his job but this senseless attack nearly cost him his life.