BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Police officers discovered a cab driver dead in his taxi just steps away from children boarding a school bus on Buffalo's east side.
The body of the 55-year-old was found early Wednesday morning.
"I will confirm he was in the back seat of the vehicle," said Buffalo Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards. "He was found by a fellow cab operator."
Frank Bona of Airport Taxi identified the driver as Mazen Abdallah.
"This is like losing our family member. Like one of our brothers has been lost. That's exactly what it is," Bona said.
PHOTOS FROM SCENE | Several Buffalo Police cars responded to the scene.
He says the driver was on his way to pick up a customer around 5:00 in the morning on Perry Street and was supposed to drop the customer off near Kensington-Bailey. Bona says about a half hour went by and dispatchers became suspicious. He say efforts to reach the driver failed.
"There are numerous reasons why a driver won't answer you either on the radio or on his phone. We never anticipated the driver being shot and killed," Bona said.
Buffalo Police are saying little about the crime. News 4 has learned that the driver was shot in the head, although police would not confirm that.
It was an emotional scene on Norfolk Avenue as family and friend showed up after hearing the news. Demetrius Moore works for another cab company and came, wondering if he knew the driver.
"You can put shields in your car. You can put cameras in the vehicles. But I walk with faith. So, whatever is going to happen is going to happen," Moore said.
The crime scene was near a day care facility where children were being dropped off.
Trina Washington said, "All the kids that's in the day care, they're very confused, not knowing what's going on, and it's scary."
Bona says Abdallah likely had about $75 or $100 on him since he'd only been on duty for about an hour before the pick up. Abdallah had worked for the company for about 10 years.
"He was loyal to the organization, and he did his job. A very simple guy," Bona said. "I think the first reaction is shock, and then there's fear because we all do the same thing here."
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