Cab driver killed while driving in Petersburg

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A Petersburg taxi driver was shot and killed Wednesday night, only days after two other drivers from the same company were robbed. 36-year-old Raphael Cudjoe was shot and killed while dropping off a customer.

Today was a mix of mourning as well as getting back to work for drivers at Boulevard Cab after the murder of Cudjoe.

Steve Cudjoe is Raphael's cousin and also drives a taxi for Boulevard. He still can't wrap his mind around his cousin's sudden death.

"This is a senseless killing," he said. "It shouldn't have happened. Raphael was one of the most kindest people I ever knew and I'm not just saying that because he's my cousin, that's just the way he was."

Raphael was gunned down at the Jefferson South of the James apartment complex after giving a woman a ride.

A picture sent by a viewer shows bullet holes on top of his cab.

Tonya Tatum was dispatching cab drivers Wednesday night. She says one minute she's sending Raphael to pick up someone, the next she gets a call from police.

"I just lost it. I understand it's not my fault that it happened, but the drivers are under my care on my shift," Tatum said. "I feel responsible even though I'm not. It just hurts."

This murder is the latest chapter in a series of escalating violence against Boulevard Cab drivers. In the last week, two drivers have been robbed while another was able to get away from another robber.

"There's not a lot of money in these cabs," Steve Cudjoe said. "That's why I don't understand why they're targeting these cabs, kill somebody for what, forty, fifty dollars?"

While sorting through the money from last night manager Craig Buck found money Raphael left from earlier fares before he was killed.

"These drivers put their life on the line every call they take," Buck said.

Petersburg Police won't comment on whether the woman in the taxi cab is considered a suspect. Police will only say it is considering this a homicide investigation and no arrests have been made.

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