Cab driver apologizes to family of man he killed

Posted at 6:03 PM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-16 10:13:43-04

A Phoenix cab driver accused of murder has told the victim's family he is sorry.

"I can't stop thinking about the unimaginable sadness I have caused the family," said Joseph Petty.

Phoenix police say Petty shot and killed Michael Lopez Jr. after a confrontation near 51st Avenue and Camelback on Wednesday morning. 

Petty told police he was filling up his cab when Lopez threatened to kill him. Police say Petty told them he then shot Lopez in the head because he thought Lopez was going for a gun.

Investigators only found one gun at the crime scene, according to police. 

During his initial court appearance, Petty apologized to Lopez's family members.

"I wish there was some way that I could reach out and hold them and make it go away," said Petty.

Lopez's father and another family member testified at the same court appearance. They told the judge they want Petty locked up for as long as possible.

"He took away my son. He doesn't deserve to be out on the streets," said a man identified as Lopez's father.

Friends and family of the victim held a candlelight memorial Friday night at the scene of the shooting.

"He didn't deserve to die," Ambria Martinez, who had a child with Lopez, said of the victim.

"I'll see you some day and I'll make sure your son knows who you are," Martinez said.

Several dozen attended the vigil.

Petty is being held on $100,000 bond and faces one count of second-degree murder.