Stephen Mauk, a driver for Yellow Cab of Frederick, was dispatched to pick up passengers in his minivan early yesterday - and that was the last his co-workers heard from him, a company official said.
Four hours later, Mauk, 47, was found shot to death in his cab at a public housing complex in East Baltimore, according to city police. Police said the man was shot once in the head while sitting in the driver's seat in the 200 block of N. Bond St. An autopsy is pending.
Police officials did not release a possible motive in the killing, which led homicide detectives to travel to Frederick yesterday as part of their investigation.
Mauk had a wife, three daughters and one grandchild. He had been driving a cab at night for about a year after being laid off from his job in operations at United Healthcare, said his brother, Kevin Mauk.
"We're still trying to understand it. It's a tragic loss for someone trying to take care of his family," said Mauk, 45.
Blaine Young, co-owner of Yellow Cab of Frederick, was shaken by the news of the killing of one of his drivers. Young gave a brief timeline of events yesterday.
He said his company received a call to transport people locally, in the Frederick area, from an address at which employees routinely picked up passengers. The last contact the dispatcher had with the driver was at 12:02 a.m, when he picked up the fare. The dispatcher did not hear from the driver for about 40 minutes and then tried reaching him by cell phone and two-way radio.
But there was no response, Young said.
"At that point, we lost communication with our driver," Young said. "We were trying to find him. ... When we didn't hear from him, then the dispatcher was concerned."
Young said that other cab drivers searched the Frederick area for Mauk, unaware that the van was en route to Baltimore. An anonymous phone call tipped off police, and officers found Mauk shortly after 4 a.m. in his car at the Douglass Homes complex. At 4:16 a.m., paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Young said the Baltimore Police Department broke the news of his driver's death.
"I was laying in bed when I received the phone call," Young said. "I don't even know how to comprehend it."
There have been occasional robberies of his drivers in the past, but none have ever been killed, he said.
"This has never happened. Never," Young said.
Lt. Clark Pennington, a spokesman for the Frederick Police Department, said his agency is working with detectives from the Baltimore Police Department. Pennington declined to release details of the investigation.