NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police have made an arrest in the death of a cab driver over the weekend in the Bronx.
Authorities said Tuesday night that a 16-year-old has been taken into custody and charged him with 2nd degree murder and robbery.
Mohammad Zafrullah, 65, of Brooklyn was found lying in the street with severe head trauma at around 11:45 p.m. Saturday in Soundview. He died at a nearby hospital a few hours later, CBS2’s Tara Jakeway reported.
“We’re just sort of [in] shock, disbelief and obviously grieving as a family,” said Ronnie Momen, the victim’s nephew.
Momen was mourning the loss of Zafrullah, who police said was killed during a robbery by his taxi passenger on Saturday night. They said the cab driver picked up his fare in the Bronx. Later, the passenger hopped out of the car on Seward Avenue, reached back in and grabbed Zafrullah’s backpack through the passenger window. The victim got out to chase the man, running behind the cab when it rolled back and hit him, knocking him to the ground and running him over.
“He got out of the car rather quickly, right behind us here, and the car ran over him, severing his spine and injuring his head,” said Fernando Mateo, head of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers.
City cab drivers are required to either keep the plastic partition between them and passengers or install their own security cameras in their place. Police said Zafrullah did not have cameras. Officials are now asking all taxi drivers invest in the equipment and install those cameras, Jakeway reported.
Zafrullah’s death hit many who loved him hard.
“[He was] just a really caring person, concerned about making people happy and living for others,” Momen said.
Momen had flown in from California earlier Saturday evening to visit his uncle, but he just missed him. Zafrullah had left the family home to work a night shift in his yellow cab, something Momen said he did because he loved it.
“He didn’t really need to do it, but I guess he was keeping himself active. He was 65,” Momen said.
Zafrullah was originally from Bangladesh and had been in New York for around 30 years. His two children also live on the West Coast and arrived in New York City on Tuesday morning. The large family joined the NYPD in asking that the public look at the passenger’s photo and speak up. The Federation of Taxi Drivers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
“We’re very saddened by it, but once again it’s the reality of what it is to drive a cab in New York City,” Mateo said.
Zafrullah’s son and daughter said they are grateful for all the city has done so far and hope their father gets justice.
“My father truly was a fighter, a New Yorker through and through and he went fighting until the very end,” his son, Tawsique, said.