Los Angeles Taxi Driver Killed By Attacker: Police Seeking Suspect [Update]

A taxi driver in the Franklin Village Area of Los Angeles has been reported dead after a passenger beat him to death around 3:00 a.m., according to the police.

KTLA5 reports that the fight happened at a gas station on Franklin Avenue. The fight began in the car and ended in the parking lot, LAPD Lt. John Radtke revealed.

“The cab driver was struck several times. That fight lead into the gas station parking lot and then the victim fell down, and possibly hit his head.”

The man was quickly taken to the hospital but pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Taxi driver pronounced dead shortly after arrival at hospital after attack
[Image via Shutterstock]

The police described the attacker as a white or possibly of Middle Eastern descent, and likely aged between 35 and 40. The man is said to be approximately 5-foot, 8-inches tall with dark hair and last seen wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt. The attacker was last noticed on foot traveling eastbound on Franklin Avenue.

The taxi’s surveillance video has been turned over to the police.

Haroutioun Kantzabedian, a Yellow Cab supervisor, made a comment to KTLA5.

“We have a camera in our car, so they’re going to check it out. Hopefully they will find something.”

The gas station reopened around 9 a.m. after being closed since the attack.

According to BLS, taxicab drivers have the highest homicide rate among other occupations. For every 100,000 taxi drivers, there are 32 homicides. This is nearly four-times higher than the death rate for police officers.

Among the different reasons for taxi drivers to be attacked, robbery is the majority of cases. Most attacks occur between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

High crime rate areas are more likely to have taxi driver homicides. For example, between 1992 and 1995, 35 taxi drivers were killed in Bronx, New York. Many taxi drivers are assaulted and killed following a robbery, others were killed during a dispute with the customer. Sometimes, violent people shoot and kill taxi drivers with no motive at all.

Since the 2000s, many taxi companies have installed security cameras, thus lowering the homicide rate among taxi drivers, according to CDC. Data collected over a term of 15 years allowed researchers to compare homicide rates. They compared between 8 cities that used security cameras, 7 cities that used partitions, and 11 cities that did not use any type of safety feature.

It was concluded that taxis that use security cameras were three-times less likely to be killed than those that didn’t use any safety features at all. Compared to before security cameras were installed in taxi’s, the homicide rate dropped to seven-times less likely to be a victim of homicide.

In the 26 cities that were analyzed, 216 taxi driver homicides occurred averaging 14 homicides per year. It has been suggested that security cameras significantly reduce homicide rates. Some cities that have security cameras in their taxicabs are required to have a decal on the taxi making the customers aware that a security camera is in use.

The story is still developing and more information will be released as it becomes available.

UPDATE

The taxi driver who lost his life after an assault by a customer at a gas station in Hollywood was identified as Asfawosen Alemseged.

Investigators believe this assault occurred over a $24.75 cab fare dispute. Lt. John Radtke believes the altercation lead to robbery, then homicide.

“This is probably a fare dispute that escalated into a robbery, into a physical assault, to the victim’s death.”

The suspect was tracked for a few blocks, but is still at large. Scent dogs have been assisting with the search of the suspect.

“What they attempt to do is get a scent from the suspect and then specifically follow that scent wherever it leads them. It did lead them eastbound on Franklin and into the local community.”

Yellow Cab said that Alemseged was a well-known writer, singer, musician, and artist. He had worked for the company for 24 years.

Anyone with information on this crime, please contact LAPD.

[Image via Shutterstock]