Shooting Victims React to Cabdriver Attack - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/18/04

Shooting Victims React to Cabdriver Attack

The scene of an overnight shooting. The scene of an overnight shooting.

A Savannah cabdriver remains in the hospital today after a would-be robber shot him in the head and neck. Around 4pm this morning, 27-year-old Jamel Smith picked up a man in his cab and took him to Sylvania Road. That's when the customer pulled a gun and demanded Smith's money. Smith resisted and during the scuffle the gun went off, hitting Smith.

This isn't the first time in recent memory a cabdriver was shot while on duty. We spoke with another cabbie who went through a similar experience. Even though Smith is still recovering, other cabdrivers say he's lucky because all too often, drivers are shot and killed for little or no money.

It's been nearly five years since Tom Ragan picked up his last fare. That customer shot Ragan in the back of the head and robbed him of less than $20.

"They found him over on the west side of town in the cab," said his mother, Virginia Davis. "He was dead. He was shot in the head."

When Ragan's mother heard about this latest shooting, memories of that horrible night came rushing back. "There's no closure to it," she said. "It's every day, it's still open and you wonder who. You see somebody on the street, well could this have been the one that shot him?"

Police still haven't found Ragan's killer, nor the man who shot Bobby Carter. He, too, was shot while driving a cab. But he lived to talk about it.

"One bullet is in my neck, they can't take it out," he said.

Even with a bullet still stuck in his neck, Carter keeps driving cabs and says after almost 30 years in the business, cabdrivers have always been easy targets.

"I've been at it 28 years," he said. "It comes and goes. It's something that's going to happen once in a while and you just try to be cautious and be safe."

Carter says there's not much cabdrivers can do to protect themselves, because whether you're driving with a bulletproof shield or not, robbers will get to you if they really want to. "There's no telling what they have in their possession when they get in a cab, so you just have to be on your guard at all times," he said.

For Virginia Davis, she wants to see justice served even if it's not for her own son. "I'd like somebody to come forward on my son's case and just that one little tip," she said. "There's a reward that's being offered, just somebody come forward and say something and I hope somebody may have seen something last night for this driver."

If you have any information about either of these shootings, call CrimeStoppers at 234-2020 or call local police.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly