Investigators Believe 2 Passengers Robbed Naji Fawaz Before He Was Gunned Down

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A livery cab driver was shot and killed during an apparent robbery in Brooklyn, police said Monday.

It happened just before 12:30 a.m. on Decatur Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Patchen Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Naji Fawaz, 35, was found in the front seat of his car with multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and torso, police said. He was taken to Kings County Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“It looks like he’s the victim of a robbery,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “There is no money on him at this time. We don’t have shell cases in the car, but he is hit several times in the body.”

Fawaz lived less than a mile from where he was shot, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported. Neighbors and fellow livery cab drivers stopped by his apartment Monday morning to pay their respects.

“I’m so shocked,” said neighbor Mohammad Bari. “I’m really, really shocked.”

“It’s a pretty scary situation,” added neighbor Marsha Nairne. “I’ve lived here for six years and this has never happened before.”

Investigators believe two passengers in Fawaz’s livery cab robbed him before the shooting, which then caused him to slam into Nairne’s parked car.

“We actually heard the gunshots,” said Nairne. “At first, we didn’t know what exactly it was, so we looked out the window. The neighbor actually started screaming, ‘call the cops! Do you need help?”

Monday morning, the doors of Fawaz’s Toyota Camry were still open as investigators combed the scene for evidence.

One neighbor said the increasing crime in the area is why he and his family are moving.

“It’s not good, this area,” he told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “Every year, somebody die here.”

Meanwhile, fellow livery drivers expressed anger towards what they said are far too common attacks against drivers.

“We are saddened once again to see how easily a young man can lose his life in New York City. Working as a cab driver has always been the most dangerous job, period,” the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers said in a statement.

Spokesman Fernando Mateo called on Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to find an alternative to stop-and frisk.

“This controversial program had a huge impact on saving lives while affecting some that claimed discrimination. Now we have to deal with reality, protecting those few that claim discrimination has unleashed an armed assault on the working class in NYC. Thugs with guns are not being stopped before they commit a crime,” Mateo said in a statement. “If we ignore the truth more lives will be taken and someone must be held accountable. It seems like the voices of those that commit crimes are louder than the voices of their victims.”

Fawaz was a father of two young children and a native of Yemen. Police sources told CBS2 that he had an Uber sticker on his car, but had not worked for the company since March.

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