Police: Livery cab driver shot several times, robbed of $23 in the Bronx

SOUNDVIEW, The Bronx (WABC) -- A livery cab driver and father of three is recovering in the hospital after being robbed and shot several times.

After a year on the job, Jeffrey Cisnero Camacho, 26, was confident to pick up someone hailing a cab around 12:30 Saturday morning in the Bronx on Morrison Avenue near Westchester Avenue in the Williamsbridge.

"He lives nearby, so he was probably on his way home - he saw the street, he picked it up, he thought he could make some extra money," said president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, Fernando Mateo.

Mateo said that decision nearly cost Camacho his life as the passenger pulled out a gun and robbed and shot Camacho several times before taking off. The suspect took $23 from Camacho.

Neighbors woke up to the gunfire, and the 26-year-old, though injured, found enough strength to flag down police patrolling nearby.

"We saw a bunch of cops fly by at 50 miles per hour," said neighbor Ruvindra Raghunandan.

There was chaos as police blocked off the streets.

Officers are combing through home surveillance for evidence and to put together a description of the suspect - a man who never should have been picked up in the first place. Officials say drivers are encouraged to use a dispatch.

Mateo said the taxi drivers federation is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailant.

Mateo said the man, originally from the Dominican Republic, has lived in the U.S. for about five years and began working as a livery car driver about a year ago. He'd been robbed once before.

Mateo said the shooting was the kind that happened routinely two decades ago before the city teamed up with taxi drivers to reduce the danger to drivers.

Now, he noted, entire years go by without a single driver among the 120,000 who operate in the city being killed. In the late 1990s, the number of cabbies killed was in double digits with several thousand some years facing assaults and robberies. Murders are now down 99 percent, and other attacks are down substantially as well, Mateo said.

He said the reductions came after most cars were required to install video cameras and partitions.

A loophole in the improvements allows cars that make runs for corporations or drivers who carry passengers for companies like Lyft and Uber to operate without cameras and a partition, Mateo said.

He said he'd advise those drivers not to pick up anyone waving them down on the street.

"A few dollars isn't going to make a difference in your life," he said. "Don't risk being shot."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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