High school football player arrested in cab driver murder

Apr 24, 2013

A former star football player at South Park High School has been charged with the murder of a taxi cab driver in the City of Buffalo. 

Buffalo Police have arrested Maurice Howie, 17, in the shooting death of 55-year-old Mazen Abdallah.  Abdallah was shot to death inside his Airport Taxi on March 6. He was discovered by his co-workers on Norfolk Avenue on the city's East Side. 

Howie has been charged with second degree murder. Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says investigators believe robbery was the motive.

Buffalo Police care on Bailey Avenue
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

"In this case, really good police work, lots of tips from the public, [and] our surveillance cameras played a part in this arrest. It's a very good day to get this violent individual off the street," Derenda said at a Wednesday morning news briefing.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda talks with reporters about arrest
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Derenda described Howie as a "star athlete," the quarterback of his team. 

"This was a crime that was chilling to the community. Mr. Abdallah was an innocent individual doing his job, working in our community. It was a crime that shocked the city," Mayor Byron Brown said.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown discusses arrest in murder of cab driver
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Derenda says a second suspect could be arrested soon in the case. Howie is being held at the Erie County Holding Center without bail.

Airport Taxi issued the following statement in response to the arrest:

“The management and drivers of Airport Taxi Service would like to thank the men and women of the Buffalo Police Department, who worked so hard and were so thorough in their investigation of the murder of our dear friend and coworker Mazen Abdallah. We are extremely pleased at the news of the arrest of the suspect in this heinous crime, and will always be grateful to the police department for the dedication and perseverance in this case. Airport Taxi would also like to thank the local news media and especially Rich Newberg for focusing the attention on this case and keeping it in the public eye.”