UPDATE: Cincinnati police arrested two men Thursday and charged them with the fatal shooting of cab driver Mamadou Diop on Baltimore Avenue in North Fairmont early Wednesday morning.
Dakeith Pleasant, 24, and Keyawhan Love, 20, were charged with murder and aggravated robbery, police said. They are scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. Friday.
CINCINNATI - Shocked and scared after a cabbie was slain - shot in the back of the head on a dark street in North Fairmount – some taxi drivers want to be allowed to carry guns on the job.
"It is scary. Plus, you're not allowed to have any kind of weapon in Cincinnati. You don't know who you're picking up," Yebrah Gebrekerists, a driver for Ran's Taxi, said Wednesday.
"I don't feel safe driving right now. In the nighttime. Especially West Side. It's not safe to drive in the nighttime."
Police found another Ran's Taxi driver, Mamadou Diop, 45, slumped behind the wheel at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 1600 block of Baltimore Avenue.
That's just a few blocks from where another man was slain on Baltimore Avenue 10 days earlier.
A motorist called 911 after coming upon the cab stopped in the road with the driver's door wide open. The caller said Diop, a father of three from Westwood, had been shot in the back of the head.
Police think robbery was the motive.
It's a fear of all taxi drivers, especially ones who work at night.
"I call this a gambling job," said Hassan Shide, a driver for Olympic Cab who knew Diop. "You don't know who you're going to pick up. You don't know where you're going to pick them up. As drivers, we have no protection.
"We should have a gun. We should have protection in the car, but also we should have a license to carry on.
"If somebody is going to put a gun on my head, what should I do? I have to defend myself."
Diop, a native of Senegal, picked up a fare in the Uptown area just after midnight, said Ran's Taxi owner Mussie Andemariam. Diop was found dead about a half-hour later.
Andemariam said he didn't know why Diop was at 1600 Baltimore. The company uses two-way radios to dispatch cabs and he said he didn't know where Diop was taking his fare.
Ran's cabs don't have GPS, either, Andemariam said. But that's going to change after this.
"Very soon, we're changing it to a computer system where we will be able to track the location of each driver at the same time so it will make it safer for the drivers," Andemariam said.
The cab company owner said Diop's wife and kids were devastated.
"He was a good driver," Andemariam said. "He generally worked night shifts -- and has been all over picking up customers. It's hard to lose this person. It's really a very sad day for us."
"He was a nice person," Gebrekerists said. "He's a hard worker. I know him almost more than two years."
"It was very horrible," Shide said. "It's really upset the family and also the city of Cincinnati and most of cab drivers."
Other drivers told WCPO they're afraid to go to many West Side neighborhoods for safety reasons. Baltimore Avenue has been especially dangerous recently.
Police said James Campbell’s body was found in the 2200 block of Baltimore Avenue on March 1. No arrests have been made in that case.
A 19-year-old woman is also missing from the same area. Officers said Courtnie McKinney was last seen in the 2200 block of Baltimore Avenue on Jan. 20.
McKinney requires frequent checkups because of a medical condition. There have been no updates on her status.
Anyone with information about these homicides is asked to call the Criminal Investigation Section at (513) 352-3542 or CrimeStoppers at (513) 352-3040 or text “CINTIP” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
WCPO's Bryce Anslinger contributed to this report.