A taxi driver was fatally stabbed during an argument with a passenger in Southeast Washington yesterday morning, the second cabbie to be murdered here within slightly more than 12 hours, according to D.C. Police.
The death of David Hughes Jr., 50, a part-time driver for Meteor Cab Association brought to five the number of taxi drivers slain in the city since April. It followed the fatal shooting Tuesday night of Lloyd D. Jones, 31, a driver for Autorama Cab Co.
City police officials immediately announced the establishment of a special task force to investigate the murders as well as recent taxicab robberies. Police said that, although the five cab drivers' deaths this year represented an unusually large number, the incidents had occurred at scattered locations and followed no clear pattern.
In contrast with the number of slayings this year, one taxi driver was slain during all of 1977 and three during 1976, according to police records.
The announcement of the special police task force followed telephone conversations among taxi industry representatives, Mayor Walter E. Washington and police officials. William J. Wright, chairman of the Taxicab Industry Group, which represents most of the city's cabbies, later appeared at a news conference at D.C. police headquarters and expressed satisfaction with the city's response to the incidents.
The police department is doing everything that's possible," Wright said.
According to homicide investigators, Hughes was stabbed in the neck at 6:10 a.m. yesterday by a passenter whom he had taken to a parking lot that serves several apartments buildings in the 1400 block of Howard Road SE. Both men had climbed from the cab and were standing in the lot when the flight began that led to Hughes being stabbed police said.
Although bleeding profusely, Hughes got back in his cab and drove about three-fourths of a mile, police said, before he flagged down a policeman. Police rushed him in a patrol car to Greater Southwest Community Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Police investigators sought to publicize their belief that Hughes' assailant also may have been stabbed in the leg during the incident. Sgt. Robert Sharkey, a homicide investigator, said a suspect was seen crawling, rather than walking, away after the incident. He described the suspect as a man in his early 20s about 6 feet 1 inch tall.
Police have not established a motive for the killing. "We don't know if it's a robbery," Sgt. Sharkey said. "It sounds like someone was trying to beat him out of a far." But, Sharkey added, that police had not ruled out other motives.
Hughes had been a part-time driver for for Meteor and previously had worked for Coastline Cab Co. for many years, according to his family and business associates. His principal job was operating a crane for the city Department of Environmental Services. He had been a city employe for 20 years, city officials said.
Hughes, who was born in Cheraw, S.C., lived at 337 Randolph St. NW with his wife, Minnie. He is also survived by four daughters, Edna, Veronica and Sabrina Hughes and Grace Briggs, and two sons, Gary and Reneldo, all of Washington; his mother, Edna Hill of Cheraw, and two sisters, Alice Campbell of Cheraw and Barbara Hill of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jones, the driver who was killed Tuesday night, was found fatally shot in the neck in his parked cab at about 6 p.m. in the 1100 block of 2nd Street NW, according to D.C. Police. Police attributed his death to an apparent robbery attempt.
Jones was born in Washington, was graduated from Spingarn High School and had attended Federal City College. He had worked as a cab driver for about a year for Autorama and one other company.
According to his mother, he was active in Sunni (Orthodox) Muslim affairs and had taken the name Abdul Shahid.
He is survived by his wife Subriah Ahmed; two daughters, Rasheeda and Habiba; two sons Baki and Ahmed; parents, John D. and Catherine Jones; two brothers, Adi and Ibn Yah Yah, and four sisters, Sharon Moore and Carmen, Constance and Christine Jones, all of Washington.