New information reveals Phoenix arcade bar shooter had prior issue with victim

Jun 29, 2023, 8:00 AM

(Matthew Covarrubio - Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Google Streetview photos)...

(Matthew Covarrubio - Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Google Streetview photos)

(Matthew Covarrubio - Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Google Streetview photos)

PHOENIX — Court documents revealed new details about a late-night shooting at a downtown Phoenix arcade bar this weekend.

Officers responded to shots fired at the Cobra Arcade Bar at McKinley and Second streets around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Two officers were working off-duty, seated in their patrol vehicle parked near the bar, when they heard gunshots and felt the patrol vehicle struck by gunfire, according to a probable cause statement.

The officers saw the suspect, 22-year-old Matthew Covarrubio, running from the scene with a gun in his hand, chased after him and took him into custody, police said. A gun was found nearby.

What led up to the Cobra Arcade Bar shooting?

Prior to the shooting, a verbal argument began inside the bar between Covarrubio and the victim, police said. The altercation continued outside and the fight escalated.

The victim pushed Covarrubio to the ground and struck him multiple times, causing his eye to be swollen shut and inflicting multiple cuts, the probable cause statement said.

When Covarrubio got up, he allegedly placed his cellphone and hat on a stone wall, pulled out his firearm and shot the victim multiple times. The victim fell to the ground, and Covarrubio stood over him, shooting him several more times. A total of 14 shell casings were collected from the scene, police said.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he remains incapacitated from the multiple gunshot wounds.

Video footage collected from the bar showed Covarrubio shoot the victim several times. Nine muzzle flashes from Covarrubio’s firearm could be seen on the surveillance camera, the probable cause statement said.

A witness, who is a mutual friend of Covarrubio and the victim, told police she was with the victim inside the bar when Covarrubio walked by. Covarrubio and the victim got into an argument and shoving match. Before Covarruubio left, he allegedly told the victim, “I have something coming for you.”

What did the suspect tell police?

In a post-Miranda interview, Covarrubio told police he had been at the bar since around noon drinking at a special event prior to seeing the victim, who he had a previous problem with, in the evening.

Following the brief, verbal argument inside the bar, Covarrubio said he was exiting when the victim struck him from behind, inflicting small cuts and a large contusion over his right eye.

Covarrubio then said he fired shots at the victim and that he was “too drunk” to remember or estimate how many shots were fired, according to the probable cause statement.

He continued saying he could only remember being jumped, shooting the victim and then sitting in the back of a patrol vehicle.

One officer suffered minor injuries while Covarrubio was taken into custody. No other injuries were reported.

Covarrubio was booked on multiple felonies, including aggravated assault and discharging a firearm within city limits. His bond was set at $200,000.

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New information reveals Phoenix arcade bar shooter had prior issue with victim