Cab Driver Shot in Head Released from Hospital

March 12, 2009 12:29:51 AM PDT
Cab Driver Javier Gonzalez is wearing a helmet, because doctors had to remove a piece of his skull to repair the damage done when a gunman shot him in the head. It happened on February 21st after he picked up a customer at a bar. The ride ended about 20 miles Southeast of Fresno. Gonzalez says when he asked the customer to pay, the man pulled a gun, and told him, here's your money, and fired several shots.Gonzalez was hit in the head, and upper leg. He was temporarily blinded by the head wound, and so confused he initially thought the sheriff's deputy who arrived to help him, was going to finish him off. He recalls asking "Are you going to shoot me too." He said the deputy assured him an ambulance was on the way and he was going to the hospital. Gonzalez spent two weeks in the hospital, and faces more surgery.

That piece of skull that was removed was implanted under his skin, by in his abdomen. The goal is to keep the piece of bone alive. Doctors will reattach it to his skull once the swelling in his brain subsides. Gonzalez, who does not speak English, told us in Spanish that he is fortunate to be alive.

Gonzalez says he did not know the cab driver who was shot and killed this week. That driver, Jesus Martinez picked up a customer at the Greyhound station downtown. He was found dead in his cab at Kearney and Hughes in Southwest Fresno on Tuesday.

Police aren't sure if the two shootings are related. Gonzalez says he now fears for the safety of the other cabbies. He told us he fears there is a "crazy lunatic out there going after taxi drivers." Gonzalez says once he recovers he will try to find another job. But, he says if he returns to driving a cab, he will only do it during the day. Never again at night.

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