Chamblee, GA, October 3, 2016 – by Trey Benton – The City of Chamblee Police Department (CPD) has released more information concerning the October 01, 2016 murder of a taxi driver in the Wakefield Forest community, at the intersection of Woodacres Road and Warwick Circle.
The female victim has been identified as Luz Mariana Matheu. The man suspected of shooting and killing Matheu has been identified as David Rey Garcia-Mendoza.
“Mendoza is currently in custody and is facing multiple felony charges including armed robbery, kidnapping, motor vehicle hijacking and felony murder,” Captain Ford reports.
Chamblee Police responded to a person shot call at approximately 9:29 pm Saturday night, at 2570 Woodacres Road. “Upon arrival, responding units found a blue OK Taxi crashed into a fence,” CPD Captain Ernesto Ford describes in a statement. “As officers approached the blue taxi, they found a female driver slumped over the steering wheel with a gunshot wound to her head. She was pronounced dead at the scene. ”
According to Captain Ford, one of the witnesses told investigators she witnessed a male running from the crashed vehicle into nearby woods. A perimeter was quickly established and with the assistance of the Brookhaven Police K-9 unit, a suspect was located and arrested.
One witness reported that she attempted to call 911 from her cell phone as the incident was unfolding, however, Captain Ford explains, her call was connected to the DeKalb County Police Department 911 center. “The witness hung up before anyone could respond to her call and dispatch Police,” says Captain Ford.
In Police Reports supplied to The Post, CPD Sergeant Edward Lyons describes Garcia-Mendoza’s capture and how a Brookhaven K9 Unit located the suspect:
“While taping off the area of the vehicle, I was approached by a Hispanic male with a thick beard. Through a translator he advised me that the suspect who shot the girl had run into his yard (2565 Woodacres Road). He said that the suspect entered his driveway as he was exiting the house to see what all the commotion was. The suspect pointed a black handgun at him and told him to get on the ground. He complied and the suspect ran through the back yard and over his back fence. He described the suspect as a Hispanic male of Mexican decent, short and approximately 25 years old, dressed in a black collared shirt, dark pants and a baseball style hat.
Brookhaven K9 Officer Fikes quickly arrived on scene and was advised of the situation. A perimeter had already been set and Officer Fikes and I began a canine track with K9 Dano into the woods behind the house. Upon entering the woods, Dano immediately began a strong track towards a large kudzu field behind the houses. We tracked parallel to the yards along Woodacres and we came across a subject matching the suspect description hiding under the kudzu. We gave the suspect multiple commands to show us his hands and he refused to comply. Dano began moving forward to make the apprehension and as he did, the suspect chose to comply. Dano was called back and I took the suspect into custody.
I conducted a cursory search of the suspect’s immediate area for the gun used in the assault but did not locate it. We escorted the suspect out of the woods the same way we came in and as we entered the driveway of 2565 Woodacres Road, headed back towards the street, the two witnesses who had indicated where the suspect fled were both standing against a small wall adjacent to the driveway. As we came into view, they both immediately said ‘That’s him, that’s him!”. We escorted him to the street where I searched the suspect more thoroughly before placing him in the rear of Officer Kohshtariya’s #256 vehicle.”
A handgun was later found near the location where the suspect was located. The gun is the suspected handgun used in the crime, Police say.
Fellow OK Taxi drivers told Channel 2 Action News that Matheu was, “a nice person and hard worker, who had been robbed about a year before while driving a cab.”
Driver Juan Saldarriaga told Channel 2 that he and other drivers also fear being targeted for robbery.
“It’s getting bad,” Saldarriaga told Channel 2. “It’s to the point where drivers are getting carry permits and arming themselves because a lot of the times there’s no response from police in time.”
Police say robbery was the likely motive.