The Taxi Driver Killed While On Duty In Milwaukee Described As A Humble And Hard Working Man; Police Seek Info On Slaying

No arrests have been made in the killing earlier this month of a Milwaukee taxi cab driver, who was shot while on duty and his taxi set on fire.

Shahbaz Imran, 44, was found in an alley in the 1800 block of West Walnut Street on Oct. 2 after he was fatally shot around 10:45 p.m., according to Milwaukee police.

An immigrant from Pakistan who had lived in the United States for more than 10 years, Imran worked the night shift at Yellow Cab to support his wife and children in Pakistan. They had been planning to join him here, according to friends.

Imran's cab was later found more than 5 miles away, in the 5300 block of North 60th Street in the city's north side after it had been set on fire, according to police.

His death occurred during historic levels of homicides and nonfatal shootings in Milwaukee and across the nation.

The pace of homicides has not slowed since the city set a record last year of 190 homicides. As of Oct. 12, Milwaukee police and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office reported 153 homicides in 2021, compared with 147 at the same point last year.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers announced $45 million in federal pandemic aid would go toward violence prevention and crime victim services. Of that, $8 million will go to the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention.

Ali Mohamed, president of Yellow Cab, said he suspects Imran's killing may have started as a robbery.

Police are still investigating what led up to the shooting.

Munawar Zaman, also a Yellow Cab driver, was close friends with Imran, whom he called "Julie." The night Imran was killed, Zaman said he couldn't get a hold of him, despite repeated phone calls. They usually worked the night shift together and would stay in contact.

"My sixth sense was telling me something is wrong," he said in an interview.

Zaman connected with another driver and friend, who said he had seen Imran pick up a passenger at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station. Zaman later heard from a Yellow Cab dispatcher that Imran's cab had been found on fire. After checking for Imran at his home, he went to the police station. Hours later, he identified a picture of the body as Imran's, he said.

"I miss him too much," he said. "Three or four days I didn't go to work because I don't want to go to work without him. I feel very lonely."

At the end of their shifts, he and Imran would sometimes go back to one of their homes. They would have breakfast together and talk about life — Imran about his kids back in Pakistan or about the progress of his efforts to become a U.S. citizen.

Zaman worries for Imran's family, who relied on Imran's income for survival. A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for his funeral expenses and for his family in Pakistan.

People who knew Imran described him as a very nice man who was humble, caring and hard-working. Once, when Zaman's taxi cab got stuck in the snow for hours, Imran stayed with his friend for almost the whole night while they waited for a tow truck, he said.

Mohamed, the Yellow Cab president, said some of his drivers were deeply shaken by Imran's death.

"Some of them they didn’t come back to work," he said. "They been good friends with him."

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to contact Milwaukee police at 414-935-7360 or Crime Stoppers at 414-224-8477.

Elliot Hughes contributed to this report.

Sarah Volpenhein is a Report for America corps reporter who focuses on news of value to underserved communities for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Email her at svolpenhei@gannett.com. Please consider supporting journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible gift to this reporting effort at JSOnline.com/RFA.

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Source : https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2021/10/13/milwaukee-taxi-driver-shahbaz-imran-killed-duty-police-seeking-information/8422485002/

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