JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police are looking for a man who they say shot a taxi driver several times and tried to rob him.
According to Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives, someone shot 42-year-old Carlton James near the intersection of West 19th Street and Myrtle Avenue on the city's Northside around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Channel 4's Vic Micolucci talked to the man's friends and a former taxi driver about what happened.
Carlos Ellison, James' best friend, described the driver's dangerous experience in detail.
"He says they were getting out of the car. One dude went to the house next door, the other dude tried to rob him, told him to give him the money and he shot him. He tried to jump out the van and run. That's when the van crashed. And he jumped out and he said the dude was chasing behind him," said Ellison.
Ellison said James had to run for his life.
"After he got shot, his arm just went limp and his foot hit the gas. That's when he hit the gas and jumped out of the van and ran," said Ellison.
The shooter got away and James was rushed to the hospital with several gunshot wounds in the arm. He was in surgery Sunday.
According to detectives, James was just doing his job before the attempted robbery and shooting happened.
"Only thing I can say about it is he was trying to make an honest living. And I hate it happening because we're all family here," said Frank Parrish, James' neighbor.
James' other neighbors echoed Parrish's sentiment, and told Channel 4 the man hasn't done a thing wrong.
"Hope it never happens no more. Innocent bystanders these days are getting shot for nothing," said Virginia Parrish.
James Crow is a former taxi driver. Crow said the job has its dangers, including a potential stick up.
"You want to do whatever you can think of to avoid giving the person a reason to use the gun, so stay calm, don't get belligerent," said Crow.
Crow said sometimes a cab driver can do everything right in a moment of crisis and yet still become a victim. Still, Crow warns the bad guys to beware.
"Cab drivers are armed. And cab drivers are looking to protect each other. There's a way a cab driver can let his buddies know he's in distress. And if given the opportunity, they'll find their buddy who's in distress and they'll come packing," said Crow.
James was taken to Shands Medical Center. James' family said he's talking and is expected to be okay.
Anyone with information about who shot James is asked call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
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