A Kentucky woman has been charged with fatally shooting her Uber driver in West Texas after mistakenly believing she was being kidnapped and taken to Mexico, police said.
Phoebe Copas, 48, was detained in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday after being charged with the murder of 52-year-old Daniel Piedra Garcia last week.
The shooting occurred at approximately 2:00 p.m. on June 16 as Piedra Copas was driving to a location in the extreme southeast of El Paso.
Copas, who is from Tompkinsville, Kentucky, was visiting her friend in El Paso, according to authorities.
During the ride, Copas saw road signs that read “Juarez, Mexico,” according to a statement from the arrest. El Paso is located on the US-Mexico border across from Juarez.
Believing she was kidnapped and taken to Mexico, Copas is accused of grabbing a gun from her purse and shooting Piedra in the head, according to the affidavit.
Phoebe Copas, 48, of Kentucky has been arrested and charged with murder in El Paso, Texas, for the fatal shooting of her Uber driver, Daniel Piedra Garcia
Daniel Piedra Garcia, 52, drove to a location in southeast El Paso to visit her boyfriend, but saw signs saying “Juarez, Mexico” that led her to believe she was being kidnapped
Copas is carried away on a stretcher after the incident
The vehicle he was traveling in crashed into guardrails before coming to rest on the highway.
The area where the car crashed was “not near any bridge, port of entry, or other area with direct access to travel to Mexico,” the affidavit explains.
‘The lane on which Copas was driving is a normal route to drive to the destination requested by Copas.
“The investigation does not support that a kidnapping has taken place or that Piedra deviates from Copas’s destination,” the police said.
Police allege that before calling 911, Copas took a photo of Piedra after the shooting and texted it to her boyfriend.
When police arrived at the scene around 2:20 p.m., they found Copas being helped out of the car by her boyfriend.
In the center Ana Piedra, wife of Daniel Piedra Garcia, is comforted by family and friends during a vigil for her husband who was fatally shot while driving for Uber
Daniel Piedra Garcia’s wife, Ana Piedra, wipes tears at a memorial for him
A vigil was held at Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas. Relatives including wife Ana Maria Piedra, niece Didi Lopez and cousin Luis Martinez are seen mourning together
Friends, family, community members and other Uber drivers gathered to remember Piedra
She dropped everything she had in her hands on the floor, including a brown and silver pistol. Video shot by CBS4 watched as Copas was taken away by ambulance.
Piedra was found slumped in the driver’s seat of the car after being shot in the head.
He was hospitalized for several days before his family took his life after doctors told them he would not recover.
“He was a hard-working man and very funny,” said Piedra’s niece, Didi Lopez, told the El Paso Times.
He was never in a bad mood. He was always the one who, if he saw you in a bad mood, would come over and try to lift you up.’
The family believe Piedra was on his last ride of the day when he picked up Copas.
The family believe Piedra was on his last ride of the day when he picked up Copas
A GoFundMe campaign set up by Piedra’s family said he was their sole breadwinner and had only recently returned to work after being injured at his previous job
Police are investigating on top of an overpass following the shooting in which Piedra was shot
“He picked her up, but time passed, and so his wife called him and he called and texted, and he didn’t answer his phone. So then she started calling everyone,” Lopez recalls.
“They started calling all the hospitals to see if he was there. And then someone mentioned the article that came out about the shooting of an Uber driver. They called the El Paso Police Department and then they told them it was him. And so for us to go to the hospital. That’s how we found out.’
Copas, who is being held on $1.5 million bail, was originally charged with aggravated assault, but the charge has since been upgraded to murder after Piedra died.
a GoFundMe campaign set up by Piedra’s family said he was their sole breadwinner and had only recently returned to work after being injured at his previous job.
“I wish she would have spoken up, asked questions, not acted impulsively and made a reckless decision because she not only ruined our lives, but hers as well,” Lopez said.
“What we were originally told was that the lady saw the sign on the highway that said it was Mexico,” she explained.
She panicked and thought my uncle was kidnapping her. And so her instinct was to shoot him and she shot him several times in the head.
“We just want justice for him. That’s all we ask.’