Detectives in Queens were looking for the passenger of a livery cab who they believe shot the driver of the cab in the neck Friday night, the police said.
The driver, a 53-year-old man, was in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on Saturday morning, the police said. As of early Saturday afternoon, the victim’s name had not been released.
Investigators said the shooting occurred during a robbery, though the details were still being sorted out. They said a camera in the car could help in the investigation if it had images of the suspect.
“We believe the passenger did the robbery,” said a law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.
The shooting occurred shortly before 9 p.m. on Friday, and officers from the 106th Precinct in Queens responded to the 911 calls. The cab, a 2005 Chevrolet Impala, was found, with the driver behind the wheel, near 122nd Street and Sutter Avenue in South Ozone Park, a residential neighborhood wedged between the Aqueduct racetrack and Kennedy International Airport, where police said the passenger had asked to be taken. After the driver stopped the car, the police said, a struggle ensued, and shots were fired.
The driver was shot in the neck, both legs and one hand, the police said. All of the shots were fired while the two were inside the car.
For the past nine months, he had worked as a driver for Big D Royal Car Service on Merrick Boulevard, said Keisha Wesley, a dispatcher there.
“He works every day,” said Ms. Wesley, adding that she knew the victim by his unit number – 32 – and not by his name. “He’s a decent guy.”
She said that employees at the livery company were well aware of the dangers of their work and that they took as many safety precautions as they could. She added that employees at the cab service were praying for the wounded driver.
“No one wants that to happen to anyone,” she said.