A New York City livery cab driver has been savagely killed after a passenger stabbed him through the eye with an umbrella, piercing his brain, during a dispute.
Police say the mortally wounded man, identified as 54-year-old Orji-Ama Uro, of Rosedale, Queens, continued driving for about a block before crashing into two parked cars in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn Thursday.
Uro was rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
According to the victim’s family, Uro was a father of five who emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria 10 years ago in pursuit of the American dream, which for him was opening his own shore store.
Chinedoum Agwu, Uro’s sister-in-law, told DNAInfo.com that the 54-year-old cab driver leaves behind two sons and three daughters between the ages of 16 and 23.
She described her slain brother-in-law as a very hardworking and responsible man who regularly attended services at a Jehovah’s Witness church.
Agwu, who was supposed to host a Father’s Day dinner for Uro and other relatives this Sunday, now has nothing left to do but weep for her brother-in-law and wonder why would anyone hurt him.
‘What would they get from a cab driver? If he had money, he wouldn’t drive a cab,’ she said.
The man was driving a 2000 gold Mercury Grand Marquis with New Jersey license plates that was registered to Freedom Car Service, according to investigators.
Surveillance video from a nearby store captured a man and woman in their mid-20s calmly emerging from the cab and walking away as the vehicle rolled down the street.
Police are currently searching for the suspects, who remain at large. The livery cab had no partition or camera inside.
The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the suspects’ arrest. The group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care is offering another $2,000.
The gruesome incident took place at around 5.30pm Thursday near the intersection of Lott Avenue and Thomas S. Boyland Street in Brooklyn.
Police officers who responded to a report of a car crash were stunned to discover a man slumped on his side in the driver’s seat gushing blood from a stab wound in his eye.
No weapon has been recovered from the scene, but investigators believe the perpetrator stabbed Uro with the metal tip of an umbrella.
Following the brutal attack, witnesses say the wounded motorist attempted to drive away, but ended up crashing his cab into two parked cars before coming to rest in a private driveway across the street from a schoolyard.
‘I was cooking in kitchen and I heard a loud bang, so I ran to my window. I saw the cab driver bleeding like crazy. His face was full of blood,’ neighbor Lena Taylor told the New York Post. ‘I called 911 and they arrived fast and cut him out of the car. He already looked dead.’
Jose Perez, who works in a bodega across the street, told the New York Times that he heard the sound of an engine, followed by a crash. He approached the cab, peered inside and saw the driver leaning over the wheel.
‘I saw a guy with a lot of blood on his face,’ he recalled. ‘He was coughing up blood.’
Police say it appears that the drivers got into a dispute with his passengers, a man and a woman, who were later seen walking away from the scene.
Uro’s wallet and cash were still on him when he was discovered bleeding to death inside the car, suggesting to police that the motive of the attack was not a robbery, DNAInfo.com reported.
New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers President Fernando Mateo told NY1 that the victim’s driver identification card was missing.
‘It was a terrible way for a man to die,’ he told the paper.