PLAINFIELD, N.J. (CBS 2) — Neighbors and fellow drivers mourned the loss of a 44-year-old taxi driver, who was gunned down early Tuesday morning in New Jersey.
Isidro Leonardo, 44, known as “Paco” to his friends, was called to pick up a fare on Spooner Avenue in Plainfield just before 6 a.m.
Fellow drivers said that is when the Dominican Republic native, husband and father of two, was held up and shot by the passenger who got into the back seat of the taxi, CBS 2’s John Slattery reported.
Leonardo received a phone call from fellow driver Salvatore Ulloa seconds before the shooting. As a result, Ulloa was able to hear the moments before and after the shooting.
“He said, ‘I don’t have any money, so I have nothing to give you’ and the guy shot him in the back, that’s all.” Ulloa said, “he didn’t speak much because he was very weak.”
Neighbors mourned the death of Leonardo outside his home and spoke of losing a good friend.
“He was a very hard-working man. He took care of his family so well and this is such a shame, what happened to him,” a tearful Stephanie Sanchez said.
Leonardo’s death was a brutal reminder for other drivers of how treacherous the job could be.
“It happened to me twice,” taxi driver Ramon Betances said, “they put gun in my neck, and ask me about money and I give it.”
Union County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to a conviction.