BEDFORD-STUYVESANT - A cab driver is in critical condition after police say someone shot him in the eye Thursday morning in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Investigators say veteran Utica Taxi Center driver Enois Melbranche, 62, picked up three women around 6 a.m. on Flatbush Avenue. They say someone shot him in the face and fled on foot when the cab reached Lafayette Street and Franklin Avenue."He was driving down the street yelling out the window for help," says witness Mark Silva. "I could be walking out here, it could happen to me. It could happen to any of us."EMTs described Melbranche, who was transported to Woodhull Hospital, as alert after the shooting.
"Unfortunately, it's probably his last fare because we have learned that he may lose both eyes," says New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers President Fernando Mateo. "We believe that these three women, that if they weren't involved in the shooting, they know who did the shooting."
The incident marks the first time in more than 12 years that a cab driver has been shot in the city.
Police are looking for the women. The cab had no camera, but investigators are using the vehicle's GPS system to retrace the sequence of events. The GPS company is offering a $10,000 reward and Mateo's group is offering a $5,000 reward in the case.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.