Uber driver recounts shooting man accused of hitting girlfriend in Orange County

Daniel Pacheco, 27, faces battery charge

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Uber driver who shot a man accused of hitting his girlfriend during a ride to their hotel in Orange County is sharing what led up to the altercation.

The Orange County Sheriff’s office said Daniel Pacheco, 27, was shot and seriously injured around 12:40 a.m. Tuesday on John Young Parkway at State Road 528 while the driver was taking the couple to a hotel from downtown Orlando.

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An arrest affidavit said Pacheco’s girlfriend tried to get him to the Uber when it arrived because he was “extremely intoxicated, stumbling and walking slowly.” Records show the girlfriend asked him to hurry and get in the Uber when he put his arm around her neck and threw her to the ground.

The Uber driver — Isabella Gallo, who served over two years in the U.S. Army — spoke with News 6 and said Pacheco grabbed his girlfriend’s hair and slammed her into the front passenger door and continued hitting her over the head. The driver said she was going to leave at first, but decided she did not want to leave the woman with Pacheco.

The two got into the car, with the girlfriend sitting in the front passenger seat and Pacheco sitting in the back seat, where he fell asleep, the affidavit said. Gallo said she ended the initial drive to the hotel when it turned out the real address was further away, so she drove the couple to their hotel on her personal time.

The driver said she and the girlfriend were having a heart-to-heart as the woman confided in the driver about her relationship. She said the woman grabbed her hand and they held hands out of comfort. The affidavit said Pacheco woke up and saw Gallo and his girlfriend holding hands and he then slapped his girlfriend on the back of the head.

The driver also said Pacheco began punching her in the face when he woke up and saw the two holding hands.

“I thought to myself, I almost didn’t make it and if I hadn’t made it home to my kids,” Gallo said.

After this, the Uber driver stopped the car and told Pacheco to get out of the car. The affidavit said Pacheco got out of the car and began arguing with Gallo. When the girlfriend tried to stop the argument by standing between them, Pacheco pushed her to the ground and the driver shot the man when he continued toward her.

She said because of her military experience, she was able to start rendering aid and called it “instinct.”

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘Hey this dude just beat the crap out of his girlfriend and just punched me in the face while I was driving.’ I wasn’t thinking about that at all, I was thinking this is a human I have to save his life,” Gallo said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Pacheco is in stable condition and has been charged with battery. As of now, no charges have been filed against the driver who shot Pacheco.

News 6 reached out to Uber and received the following response:

“The details of this report are concerning. We’re continuing to look into this, and are reaching out to the involved parties. We’re standing by to assist law enforcement on their investigation.”

Company officials also added that in some areas, including Florida, there are clauses that prohibit gun restrictions. Detectives will send the case to the State Attorney’s Office for a determination if any other charges should be filed in the case.

About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.