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Woman arrested, accused of helping suspected Phoenix police shooter

Nicole Maltalbano
Posted at 10:19 AM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 22:13:31-04

PHOENIX — A woman accused of helping suspected police shooter Nicholas Cowan has been arrested.

As of Monday morning, Cowan is being treated at a hospital for gunshot wounds believed to have occurred Thursday during an incident where he is suspected of shooting a Phoenix police officer near Cave Creek and Beardsley roads.

According to police records, Nicole Montalbano allegedly helped Cowan hide from police.

The shooting happened on April 14 at about 10:30 a.m.

Shortly after, Cowan left the scene in a blue Toyota Prius and was picked up from an apartment complex by another individual in a pickup truck.

Police say that person allowed Cowan to use their cell phone to make numerous calls. Several of those calls were to a phone belonging to Montalbano, said to be a girlfriend of Cowan in the Prescott area.

The calls included one asking for directions to where Cowan was located, in the area of 57th and Sells drives.

Later, investigators located the driver of the pickup truck and learned that the individual dropped off Cowan in the area of 57th and Sells drives, in west Phoenix, to another individual.

That person treated Cowan for gunshot wounds suffered during the initial shooting with police, according to court paperwork.

At about 5:30 p.m., that person was told to leave the residence without Cowan.

During these hours investigators say numerous calls were made between Cowan and Montalbano.

At about 7:45 p.m., Montalbano’s phone started traveling to Prescott on the freeway.

The following day, April 15, cellular telephone records confirmed the communication between the two devices as well as mapped data displaying a route of travel to Phoenix, records state.

On Saturday, April 16, a law enforcement tactical team in Prescott executed a search warrant at a residence on Antelope Villas Circle, and Montalbano was detained.

When asked about her phone calls and picking up Cowan in west Phoenix on April 14, Montalbano denied it.

She told authorities she did not know where Cowan was located and said she did not have a cellphone, according to a police report.

During a search of Montalbano’s residence, investigators located identification cards for Nicholas Cowan inside along with receipts for a prepaid cellular phone. The box for the phone was located in a trash receptacle along with floormats for a Mitsubishi passenger car with apparent bloodstains.

Investigators called the known number for Montalbano and heard the cell phone ring. The phone, along with a prepaid phone, was found in a water-filled toilet tank of the bathroom.

Montalbano has been transported to Phoenix Police Department headquarters.

Phoenix police are still actively investigating Cowan's time on the run, and believe multiple individuals helped the convicted felon evade capture.

One person allegedly picked up Cowan in a pick-up truck immediately after the shooting and drove the 35-year-old to get medical attention.

Another individual "treated [Cowan's] wounds."

Neither person has been arrested, according to Phoenix PD.

The department also says they are still trying to determine how Cowan got from Prescott Valley to Scottsdale, after allegedly being driven north by Montalbano. She was arrested in the Prescott area, so police indicate she likely did not drive the fugitive back to the Valley.

Montalbano has been booked into the Maricopa County Jail and is facing charges of hindering prosecution and tampering with or destroying physical evidence.