Man Arrested for Shooting a Fresno Cab Driver

April 15, 2009 11:27:14 PM PDT
A dangerous criminal has been taken off the streets according to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.They announced the arrest of the man they say shot a Fresno cab driver in the head. We spoke to the victim, who still is recovering from the attack, and he says he feels relieved for himself and for fellow taxi drivers.

Javier Gonzalez uses a walker to get around his home, and a helmet to protect his head ... doctors had to remove a piece of his skull and implant it near his stomach while the swelling in his brain heals.

I am not out of the woods yet-- says the 55-year old Fresno taxi driver-- I still need at least one other operation.

Gonzalez is lucky to be alive ... This is the bullet hole on the windshield of his taxi from the night of February 21st when a customer asked to be taken to Parlier, then refused to pay his fare and shot Gonzalez twice instead.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says this is the man responsible-- 39 year old Benjamin Valle Maciel ... A Selma resident who's previously been arrested for crimes in three states and has twice been deported.

Sheriff Margaret Mims said, "There is no doubt in my mind that he would have continued to commit serious, violent felonies and had he not been arrested by members of the Sherriff's office we would have had more victims."

But Sheriff Margaret Mims says this crime is not related to the deadly shooting of another cab driver ... Jesus Martinez was found dead in his cab on March 10th, in the area of Kearney and Hughes.

In ten years as a taxi driver-- nothing had ever happened-- says Gonzalez. But he knew it was a dangerous profession. Now, news of the arrest makes him emotional.

I cry tears of happiness ... He says. But more than anything, I feel relief for myself and for other cab drivers.

Benjamin Maciel faces attempted murder and assault charges ... His bail has been set at over one-million dollars.

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