JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police said they have arrested three teenagers who called for a taxi Jan. 30 with the intention of robbing the driver. The Yellow Cab driver was killed and the three teenager are now charged with murder.
Melvin Wright, 62, was found with a gunshot wound to his chest slumped over the front seat of his cab in the front yard of a home on Bloxham Avenue in Panama Park.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Monday said Tionne Williams, 15, made the call asking for a cab to come to that address. When Wright arrived, 18-year-old Deron Brown Jr. and 17-year-old Tavione Williams approached the cab. Lt. Steve Gallagher said the plan was for Tavion Williams to get in the cab and distract the driver, but Brown just shot him with a .22-caliber rifle.
Tionne and Tavion Williams were arrested in Jacksonville shortly after the murder. Brown fled to Broward County, where he turned himself in last week. In addition to murder, all three are charged with armed robbery.
Police said the two younger teens stayed at Panama Youth Services, a facility that provides housing for difficult-to-place foster care children located only a half-mile from where Wright was killed.
“It’s an absolute tragedy when anyone loses their life. I’m just as heartbroken as anyone in the community.” said Willie Green, program director of Panama Youth Services. “No one teaches kids to go out and kill people and rob people.”
Wright's brother-in-law couldn't believe it when told about the murder.
"Everybody was numb. It just was unbelievable. It was like it wasn't even real," Derry Menefee said. "Everybody loved him. All the nieces and nephews loved to go to house and spend time with him because he was that kind of person."
Menefee said this is also upsetting because the people accused in the killing are so young.
"I feel sad for them. I really feel sad for the children -- the teenagers -- and their families. Can you imagine what they're family might be going through? Not aware that these teens was plotting such a thing. That's horrible."
Wright was the fourth cab driver killed in Jacksonville during the last decade.