Chicago cab driver shot by teen suspects

May 17, 2010 (CHICAGO)

A vicious attack has left a Chicago cab driver in critical condition. Twenty-eight-year-old Ahmed Hassan was getting into his taxi Sunday night when, police say, two teens approached his vehicle, began choking him and then opened fire.

Hassan was shot once in the head.

Hassan had been on the job for only two weeks. He moved to Chicago to make a living to support his wife and son. Police are now looking for two teens in connection with the shooting.

As investigators searched for those responsible for shooting and robbing Ahmed Hassan, his relatives have kept a quiet vigil around his hospital bed. According to published reports, although heavily bandaged on the left side of his face, he is now awake and talking after doctors removed the bullet from his head that threatened to end his life.

Hassan is the latest cabbie to become a victim of violence.

"He was driving for a long time. He's healthy and everything. he's a good guy," said Abdulkidr Salad, victim's cousin.

The attack happened Sunday night around 7:30 as the 28-year-old taxi driver returned to his cab after buying a cup of tea at a restaurant popular with the city's cab drivers.

Witnesses say, as Hassan got into his cab two people -- possibly in their teens -- approached him. A struggle ensued between one of the teens and Hassan, and they both eventually fell to the ground. As the attacker began choking the cabbie, a single gunshot rang out, striking Hassan in the head. Both suspects then ran away on foot down a nearby alley.

Hassan was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

"He's stable, he's stable now. But he's not ok. He's not," said Abdirashid Hassan, victim's brother.

In the meantime, cab No. 2837, the one he was leasing at the time of the attack, was returned to the garage of his latest employer Monday morning. Hassan had just starting working for the North Side taxi company a short time ago.

"He joined us on May 5, 2010. It's like only been two weeks now. The people I work with said he got shot last night," said John Martin, Choice Taxi Association.

Friends and relatives say the married father of a 1-year-old boy became a cabbie to make money for his family who still live in Columbus, Ohio.

Hassan's attack, which follows the April shooting of a cabbie in Zion and the stabbing of another in the city, comes despite efforts to curb crimes against taxi drivers by installing cameras to make the ride safer for everyone.

"It's very hard driving a cab everyday, but it's about life; you have to work," said Abdirhman Khlif, taxi driver.

Police have a very vague description of Hassan's attackers. They have not said what type of gun was used or if a weapon was recovered at the scene. Detectives are still following leads as they continue to investigate.

A few of Hassan's cousins say they believe he is on the road to recovery as they continue to pray for his health.

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