Phoebe Copas, while in an Uber in El Paso, Texas, fatally shot her driver, 52 year old Daniel Piedra Garcia because she thought he was kidnapping her and human trafficking her into Mexico, which borders the Texan town. She is charged with murder.
According to the police, Copas saw road signs reading ‘Juarez, Mexico’ and assumed she had been smuggled out of the country by her Uber driver. This prompted her to grab a gun from her handgun and shoot the driver before calling 911 and sending a picture of the driver to her boyfriend.
The car hit barriers and stopped before authorities arrived and detained Copas. The El Paso police stated:
“The investigation does not support that a kidnapping took place or that Piedra was veering from Copas’ destination.”
This has however, spawned debate over whether the actions taken by Copas were reasonable, and the justifiable paranoia that surrounds existing as a woman in even middle unfamiliar territory and for the woman in question, who is from Kentucky, completely unknown environments.
Some say that it is understandable with the onslaught of recent cases and media coverage about the human trafficking and kidnapping of women, especially by figures like taxi drivers. And such, if Copas genuinely believed her life to be in threat, would her actions be justified as self defence?
Others say that an innocent man was killed regardless, and that is murder, which seems to be the opinion of the El Paso police department as Copas has been charged with murder.