A cab driver is recovering after he was stabbed and then robbed in the Moncrief Park area early Tuesday morning, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Just before 2 a.m. officers were dispatched to a robbery at 19th and Wilson streets in reference to a robbery.
When they arrived at the scene, they found 71-year-old Marcel Jean Gilles with multiple stab wounds to his neck. Officers said Gilles was disoriented, standing in the middle of the intersection.
“Arriving officers were able to piece together that the victim was a cab driver that had been flagged down somewhere in the downtown area," said Sgt. M. D. Clements. "He took his fare, two unknown black male suspects, to the area of 20th and Grunthal, where they proceeded to stab him multiple times and rob him while in the vehicle."
According to JSO, suspect No. 1 grabbed Gilles' hands, keeping them on the steering wheel, while suspect No. 2 grabbed his neck and put a knife to it.
Gilles told police that he panicked and pressed the gas to his cab, causing it to crash into a fence. He said the suspects demanded money. He reached into his pockets and gave them between $15 and $20 of his own money, according to JSO.
After he gave them the money, he fought with the suspects to let him go. During the fight, suspect No. 2 cut him on the back of his neck. After he was cut, he opened the driver's side door and exited the vehicle, according to police. Gilles told police he tried to run away, but the suspects grabbed his legs and tried to pull him back.
Gilles told them there was more money in the cab, and the suspects let him go, police said.
They said the suspects attempted to drive away with the vehicle, but were unable to start it. The suspects then fled the scene.
“After the cab driver escaped the vehicle, he was able to travel by foot and other means from 20th and Grunthal, where the incident actually occurred, to 19th and Wilson area, where he was recovered," said Clements.
Gilles was transported to UF Health Jacksonville, where he was initially said to have life-threatening injuries. But soon after he was treated, Gilles was upgraded to stable condition.
“The two black male suspects are at large. They were last seen wearing all black clothing and fleeing west on West 20th Street from Grunthal. One of them may or may not be injured," said Clements.
Clements said one of the witnesses told police that one of the suspects was seen limping away from the scene, but JSO has not confirmed if one of the suspects was actually injured.
Gilles is a driver for Yellow Cab.
His niece said Tuesday he's improving, and she's glad he was able to survive.
Those who know Gilles said say he's a family man who loves his wife, three children and other family members.
"I just talked to him last night," his niece said. "Literally just talked to him last night. To wake up this morning and have a phone call like that, it's pretty traumatic."
This cab driver stabbing comes just days after another cab driver was shot and killed in another robbery on the Northside.
“I’m not familiar with that [other cab robbery] case, and I’m really not authorized or even qualified to say if there will be any familiarization, whether those cases might be linked. Obviously the detective division will be following that up, I’m sure, and they’ll have further information, I’m sure," said Clements.
"I mean, it's scary but it's a job you got to do, what you got to do," said Regina Myers, a Yellow Cab driver.
Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.