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13-year-old girl, 18-year-old man arrested after attacking Uber Eats driver outside of IHOP

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PHOENIX — Police have arrested an 18-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl in the attack of an Uber Eats driver last week.

Ron Manuel was pistol-whipped and carjacked outside a Phoenix IHOP. He was confronted by two men and a woman at gunpoint after picking up food to deliver from the restaurant.

Now, police have arrested two suspects — and 18-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl.

The girl has been booked into the Juvenile Court Center.

In a police interview, Gee, a transient, admitted his involvement in this crime, as well as several other crimes in the area.

On Feb. 5, 2019, just after 8 p.m., Phoenix police responded to a call of an armed robbery near 24th Street and Baseline Road.

“It happened so fast,” Manuel said.

Manuel said he walked into the IHOP to pick up an order. Three suspects, two men and a woman, then confronted the victim and demanded his vehicle at gunpoint, police said.

“As I walked to my car, they approached me, trying to get the keys from me. They wanted my wallet. I wouldn’t give it to them. They wrestled for my keys,” he told us.

Manuel said he was then pistol-whipped.

“They jumped in the car and took off,” he said.

Manuel is almost 75 years old. He has Bell’s palsy and has survived a heart attack and a stroke. He says driving for Uber Eats helps him keep moving and make a few extra bucks.

Manuel is recovering from the attack. And while police tracked down his car, he says it isn’t running like it used to.

But the community is rallying around Manuel and his family.

“All our neighbors here, it was just amazing,” said Manuel’s wife, Charlotte as she described the outpouring of support they’ve received from the community.

For those who would like to help, Charlotte’s employer is collecting donations at the Kid to Kid location in Ahwatukee at 4940 E. Ray Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85044. This was the third attack this year on a driver.

On Jan. 30, police said another Uber driver was attacked in Tolleson. According to police, the driver had picked up the suspect at a restaurant in Goodyear. The victim told police that when the car stopped, “he felt something run along his neck or throat area,” according to the police report. “The victim then felt as if a warm liquid was running down his neck and realized his throat had just been slit.”

Police arrested Francisco J. Diaz in that case.

A few days before that, a 39-year-old pregnant Lyft driver was stabbed to death, allegedly by her passenger.

Kristina Howato was in the third trimester of her pregnancy and was driving for Lyft when she received a pickup request in the area southwest of Rio Salado Parkway and McClintock Drive, Sgt. Ron Elcock of the Tempe Police Department said.

That’s where she picked up Fabian Durazo, 20, whom police identified as the suspect.

Police said Durazo attacked her with a knife when the victim pulled up to the apartment complex near University and McClintock drives. She was still in her vehicle.

He continued to attack after she got out of the vehicle, Elcock said. Durazo then left the scene in her 2005 silver Mercury SUV.

Witnesses reported seeing that SUV leave the scene.

Howato was taken to the hospital where she and her unborn baby were pronounced dead.

Durazo was tracked down near Quartzsite and arrested.

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