Maurice R. Howie, from a Channel 2 Sports interview
BUFFALO, NY - Maurice Howie Jr. was considered a legend in the making in local high school football. Now the 17-year-old is sitting in the Erie County Holding Center charged with murdering a cab driver.
The South Park High School football quarterback attended the school where his father was a star in the 1990's. "He wanted to follow in my footsteps," said Maurice Howie Sr.
Unable to hold back tears, the father called his only child, "my best friend." Although he said he demanded respect as the father.
Howie Sr. spoke exclusively with 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing on the field where his son scored his first touchdown as a 6-year-old at Lasalle Park in Buffalo.
"I'm a guy who sacrificed everything" for my son. He left college early to return home to raise his son and taught him the game that together they love.
The Howie family is sorry for the death of cab driver Mazen Abdallah. "I would never wish that on nobody," said Howie Sr.
He says the teen was staying with his mother this school year to assist her with his half-sisters. His father was the team dad and aware of all of his son's friends, but in the dark on what happened on an early March morning when police say a cab was called to the Perry Projects in Buffalo where Howie was staying nearby on Hamburg Street with his mother. It is where Howie and another suspect, still at large, got inside the cab, and allegedly robbed and shot the cab driver to death.
"It's just a sad situation," said a crying father who only wants justice.
The father and son were so close. They dreamed of a professional career for the South Park quarterback who holds records at the school.
The lawyer for a Buffalo high school football star says his client denies any involvement in the shooting death of a Buffalo cab driver.
Howie waived his preliminary hearing in Buffalo City Court. He is charged with second degree murder. The case will go to a grand jury. The courtroom on Friday was filled with Howie's family, friends and teammates,
Homicide detectives were called to the 700 block of Norfolk on March 6th after a fellow cab driver found Abdallah's body.
"On Tuesday an arrest was made in the MLK Park shootings and this morning we have an arrest in the death of Mr. Abdallah. I've said before, it doesn't matter if a case is a month old, a year old or ten years old we will pursue every lead to bring people to justice," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in a statement.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Derenda added, "Every investigative means was used in this month and a half long investigation including surveillance video from city cameras, information from the public and analysis of key data provided at the Erie County Central Police Services Lab."
Howie is currently in the Erie County Holding Center without bail.