New Orleans — Another New Orleans cab driver was killed Thursday morning in Treme, bringing the total taxi drivers killed in the city in past 12 months to three.
Sheicho Delbar was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the body inside his taxi in the 900 block of North Johnson Street around 1 a.m. Thursday, according to the New Orleans Police Department.
Delbar’s body was discovered after officers responded to a report of a vehicle crashing into a tree at the location. When police arrived at the scene, they found Delbar in the vehicle, which was still running.
Remi Braden, a police spokeswoman, said detectives are retracing Delbar’s steps from that night but have no other information to release on his slaying. No motive or suspects have been released in the case.
Delbar worked for American Taxi, and Braden said he’d been driving a taxi since 2010. Attempts to locate Delbar’s relatives were unsuccessful.
Delbar is the third cab driver since July to be killed in New Orleans. Police previously investigated the slayings of Joseph Wilfred, 56, in December and Ali Husnain, 44 in July. In addition, in October a cab driver shot a robber in the face while the suspect was trying to flee the scene.
Wilfred’s slaying prompted the NOPD to offer a “Cab Academy” in January, where drivers were offered tips on staying safe and using technology to assist police in solving crimes.
Braden said Delbar did not participate in that academy. American Taxi did not respond to several calls for comment. Driver safety has been a serious concern for cab drivers locally and nationally for years and has led some cities to require drivers to install partitions, silent alarms, credit card machines and GPS systems. In fact, New Orleans adopted similar rules to much controversy last year. The city of a Detroit had similar driver safety courses to New Orleans after a string of cabbie deaths there.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, more than 1,200 taxi drivers have been killed in the United States since 1980, and taxi drivers are 60 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average American.