A Muslim cab driver in Pittsburgh was shot by a passenger who was ranting about ISIS and the Muslim prophet, Muhammad. Now, Pittsburgh police are left to put the pieces of the puzzle together to find the shooter.
The unidentified Muslim cab driver wants to remain anonymous because he fears for his life, but the 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant told his story from his hospital bed at UPMC Mercy.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the taxi cab driver picked a man up from Rivers Casino around 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. The passenger asked the driver to take him to a residence on Second Avenue in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
“Then he continued the conversation. He began to speak about ISIS killing people. I told him ‘Actually, I’m against ISIS. I don’t like them.’ I even told him that they are killing innocent people. I noticed that he changed his tone and he began to satirize Muhammad, my prophet, and began to shift to his personal life. He mentioned that he has two kids and was in prison for some time.”
When they finally arrived at the home on Second Avenue, the passenger asked the cab driver if he could wait while he went inside the home to get his wallet, which he forgot earlier. The cab driver agreed to wait outside the home somewhere between Flowers Avenue and Tecumseh Street, stating he waited for about five minutes. He saw the passenger emerge from the home with what appeared to be a rifle, and he knew he was in trouble.
“I didn’t hesitate. I [made] a fast decision to leave and drove my taxi away because I felt he was going to do something. There is danger. He would shoot me or something. I felt like he had the intention to kill me,” the Muslim taxi cab driver said.
He heard several shots fire and one bullet went through the back window of his taxi cab and lodged in-between his shoulder blades. He was able to drive himself to Second Avenue and Mansion Street to get help, according to WPXI.
While the cab driver currently remains in stable condition in the hospital, Pittsburgh police are trying to figure out what happened. According to the police, the victim would not share many details with them at first.
However, the cab the man drove is supposed to be equipped with a video recorder, and Rivers Casino may have video which could help police identify the suspect.
It is not clear whether the house where the cab driver dropped the shooter was a legitimate residence or not.
City Councilman Corey O’Connor, who represents the district where the shooting occurred, is convinced the police will catch the suspect but wants people to know that the investigation is ongoing and doesn’t unfold “like a TV show where it’s solved in 15 minutes.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking the Justice Department to investigate the case as a hate crime, and the Pittsburgh Police are trying to determine whether the crime was racially or religiously motivated.
Pittsburgh Police spokesperson Sonya Toler said the potential for the case being a hate crime is being considered.
The FBI is aware of the case, according to CBS Pittsburgh.
The victim of the crime says that Islam teaches him to forgive, but he still wants the shooter to face justice.
[Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images News]