NBC10 Philadelphia - Katy Zachry
An overnight shooting of Philadelphia cab driver Hafiz Salman Sarfraz has many of his coworkers concerned for their safety. NBC10's Katy Zachry has the story.
A $21,000 reward was offered Thursday, a day after a Philadelphia cab driving was shot and killed by a would-be robber.
Mudasar Butt had no idea the conversation he had with his cousin early Wednesday would be his last. Butt's cousin, Hafiz Salman Sarfaraz, was driving an All City taxi cab when he was killed early Wednesday morning.
Sarfaraz was speaking to Butt on the phone as he stopped near the Walnut Park Plaza apartments at 63rd and Walnut Streets in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia around 12:35 a.m. Wednesday. Butt overheard the conversation Sarfaraz had with a man who flagged him down.
"He was yelling loudly," said Butt. "I didn't understand him but it was a hard talk between both of them."
Then the phone went dead. The man pulled out a handgun and demanded money, according to Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker.
"The person who flags him down walks around the car, tries to get in the passenger side of the vehicle and then he points a gun into the passenger side window and we believe he announces a robbery," Walker said.
Sarfaraz, 32, tried to drive off before the man got in but the man opened fire, hitting him five times in the chest, arm and side. The taxi then crashed into a nearby abandoned building. The suspect fled the scene.
When police arrived they found the driver slumped over in the front seat. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was pronounced dead at 1:36 a.m.
"He was a lovely person," said Butt, while in tears. "He was a family man. When I came here to America he gave me a place to live and a job. Not just me, everybody."
Cab drivers tell NBC10 that they often are put in a tough spot when picking people up especially during off hours.
"We cannot refuse anyone, if we refuse anyone we receive a citation from the PPA," said Rashid Sheikh, a friend of the victim. "What kind of protection do we have? Anybody who decides that today they want to go rob a cab driver or I wanna go kill a cab driver, they have no problem whatsoever."
Several cab drivers gathered outside Sarfaraz's Upper Darby home on Wednesday. The manager of All City also stopped by with a $2,000 donation for the family. He is also offering a $3,000 reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest.
Another $21,000 are being offered by the Citizens Crime Commission and the city.
Anyone with information should call 911, 2115-546-TIPS or contact Philadelphia Police.