Taxi driver shooting raises concerns and questions

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham taxi drivers are on edge and police are looking for answers after the shooting of a cab driver Thursday morning.

Birmingham Police tell WIAT 42 a Yellow Cab driver reported being shot while trying to speed away from someone who tried robbing him. Some veteran taxi drivers tell WIAT 42 they try to avoid street pickups because of similar incidents.

Several veteran cab drivers say they switched to working the airport circuit — instead of street pickups — because of the danger.  At the same time, a man who works at the scene of the reported shooting says the story doesn’t make any sense.

According to police, the incident reportedly happened near 83rd Street South and Rugby Avenue at the Rugby Avenue Market.

Police say they got a call shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday a Yellow Cab taxi driver reported being shot by a person who had asked him to break a $100 bill. Investigators say the reportedly refused and the person pulled out a weapon and demanded money.

At that point the driver was reportedly shot in the arm as he sped away. He was treated for non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

Ethan Tony is now an independent cab driver and he says there are parts of Birmingham where he won’t go.

“Because a robber will call you to be robbed. He’ll order a cab and he called you out there to be robbed,” said Tony. “Nighttime we don’t go there. If it’s day we will go there if not we don’t go there. Because then you’re risking finding a robber.”

One cab driver who spoke on the condition of anonymity says he worked for Yellow Cab for several years, but now exclusively runs the airport circuit.

“You just don’t know what you’re getting into versus the airport. You know you have guests that have already been screened so you know there’s less chance of a weapon being present upon a customer who’s getting in your car,” said the driver.

Victor Woods works at that business where the shooting allegedly occurred, and says he is skeptical of reports that the incident happened in the Rugby Avenue Market parking lot.

Woods says he wants to clear the air because customers have said they are now afraid to shop there. He says the business has surveillance cameras and he’s not convinced that that the shooting happened in their parking lot.

Woods says they have surveillance cameras and he’s not convinced that the shooting happened in their parking lot.

“We looked at tapes. We haven’t seen anything on any tape. You know this is a nice store,” said Victor Woods. ” I don’t know how that went down. Nobody heard anything. We heard no shots.”

Lt. Edwards said that Birmingham Police hadn’t made any arrests at press time.

Yellow Cab management wouldn’t comment on the situation because the investigation is still underway.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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