Nigerian cab driver shot dead in Washington DC

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solomon_james_okorohA 57-year-old Nigerian, Solomon James Okoroh, has been shot dead in Washington, the United States (U.S.).

Okoroh, a cab driver, was killed in the 2,400 block of Ontario Road, Adams Morgan, by two men who tried to rob him while riding in his cab.

The murder of Okoroh unfolded right in front of some policemen, who immediately pursued the suspects and chased them down under heavy gunfire.

In the last eight months, two Nigerian cab drivers had been shot dead by their passengers, apparently thugs disturbed by drugs. One was killed for just 70 cents.

After flagging the cab drivers down, the passengers will pull a gun and tried to rub the driver. If there is any struggle, the driver may be shot.

Police say Okoroh was murdered after picking up two men in his cab. Officers working a robbery detail in the neighbourhood saw the cab in distress and then heard the gunshot before it crashed into a sign and parking meter near Ontario and Kalorama Roads.

The two suspects bailed out and got into a running gun battle with officers. Police caught one of them in the street, but the other tried to hide in a nearby apartment.

“There were 20 shots fired at them, 20 shots,” said Jim Graham, (D-Ward 1) a D.C. Council member. “The tragedy is horrible, but the remarkable thing is the police were right here.”

Police caught and arrested both suspects.

One of them, 32-year old Ercell Overton, is charged with first-degree murder, felony assault on a police officer and burglary.

The other suspect, 24-year old Joshua King, is being held on an unrelated probation violation.

“What happened was there was an apparent robbery of a cab driver that led to the murder of that cab driver,” Graham said, explaining the apparent motive.

Okoroh had driven for Classic Cab Company for about 15 years. The company says he had a wife and five children. He was more than a cabbie to them, he was a friend.

“I tell you, all cab drivers are scared for this to happen, because say for $10 or $15 fee, not justified to die,” said Chamroeum Muy at Classic Cab.

Those who knew Okoroh said he had been warned about the dangers, but wasn’t one to discriminate.

“This is very terrible because he is one of the few guys that he will not pass anybody. He stops for everyone, he stops for anyone,” said Evelyn Ruiz.

She last saw him Saturday when he came by Classic Cab to pick up his insurance card as he did every week.

Okoroh lived in Glenarden, Maryland.

He leaves behind a wife and five children.

His son, Prince, plays basketball at Howard University.

A friend read a statement from the family saying in part: “We are saddened such a senseless act took the precious life of Mr. Solomon Okoroh, a very spiritual man, a deacon that loves his church but more than that a family man that loves his family.”

Police say the 57-year-old cabbie was shot in the shoulder and later died.

Despite the heavy gunfire, neither the suspects nor police was hit.

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