A man was found dead in the backseat of a cab in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood Monday morning, and while the circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery, police say they’re conducting a homicide investigation.
The 59-year-old man was discovered unresponsive in the vehicle just before 8 a.m. in the 4400 block of North Leavitt Avenue, police said. Authorities say he suffered a gunshot wound to the head.
While officials have not released the man's identity, Cab Drivers United and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees identified him as a cab driver named Kamil Shamji.
“We are heartbroken over the loss of Kamil Shamji, and offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Shamji’s friends and family," the groups said in a joint statement. "Kamil Shamji’s murder last night reminds us all of the almost constant danger cab drivers put themselves in everyday when they go to work. Serving every corner of Chicago, their visibility allows them to serve residents and visitors, but at the same time, it makes for easy targets."
A cab driver claiming to be a longtime friend of the victim said Shamji had picked up a fare not far from where his body was found.
“He picked somebody up and then what happened nobody knows,” said Syed Siddiq.
Siddiq said Shamji had been driving a cab for 20 to 25 years and was well known among fellow cab drivers. He was also a family man, who drove a cab to provide for his two daughters, Siddiq said.
“Not everybody is bad,” Siddiq said. “Maybe one or two person is bad. Anything is possible anywhere.”