Larry Barnes, the District cabdriver who died Wednesday shortly after police found him near his cab in Southeast Washington, died from stab wounds rather than gunshot wounds, as police first said.

Lt. Willie Daindridge, a D.C. police detective, said yesterday that police initially thought Barnes had been shot because the first detective on the scene and members of the emergency medical team who responded said the wounds appeared to come from gunshots. Further, when Barnes was taken to the hospital, one emergency room doctor said Barnes had been stabbed, while another said Barnes had been shot, Daindridge said.

"Sometimes it's deceiving because there is a lot of blood and sometimes neighbors pick up shell casings," making it difficult for police to make an initial finding, Daindridge said. An autopsy showed that Barnes, 73, had been stabbed repeatedly, Daindridge said.

Barnes was found in the 1200 block of Pleasant Street, about 4 p.m. Wednesday by police patrolling the area. He was lying in the street near his black Globe Cab Co. taxi. Around the same time, 911 police dispatchers were alerted by neighbors that a man was on the street at that location, police said.

Daindridge said that police believe the motive for the stabbing was robbery and that two men are being sought.

The 1200 block of Pleasant Street SE is a residential area not far from the busy commercial corridor of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. On Wednesday, neighbors said they heard no shots fired and were surprised when police arrived.

Daindridge said yesterday that Barnes's family has requested that no information about them or Barnes's address be released to the media.

Barnes was the second cabdriver involved in a serious incident in the past four months. In August, John Olukayode Phillips, of New Carrollton, was paralyzed after being shot once in the head during an apparent robbery attempt, police said. Phillips was shot at 44th and P streets NW near the Georgetown University campus.

The D.C. Taxicab Commission, which has jurisdiction over the training and licensing of cabbies, is considering ways to help protect drivers by creating a satellite tracking system that would enable officials to locate cabs and would allow drivers to send distress signals.