Cabbie thanked for quick thinking after shooting

August 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A San Francisco cab driver is being honored as a hero. After a gunfight near Union Square that killed a German tourist, the cabbie followed a car that took off from the scene. To thank him for getting involved, grateful merchants treated drivers from Luxor Cab to lunch today.

John's Grill is a sure spot to get a cab after lunch, but this time nearly two dozen drivers were hosted to lunch as a thank you to the driver who followed that suspicious car speeding away from the Geary and Mason gunfight that left a female German tourist dead.

The cabbie, who wants to remain anonymous, told ABC7 what happened that night. He says he was cautiously following a white Acura that slowed down, the driver's door opened and someone jumped out of the shadows and ran into the car. The car ran a red light and then picked up three more people at Union Square.

The cabbie knew something wasn't right so he called police dispatch reporting the suspicious car.

In minutes, officers descended and took them into custody.

"I was just doing my civic duty," says the cabbie.

He was a little overwhelmed by the attention. The Union Square business district had big thank yous. Association President Russ Keil offered up certificates and proclamations, stays at two Union Square hotels, meals at restaurants, and $100 cash.

The man being honored Friday really doesn't consider himself a hero. He says it is the kind of thing any driver here would do.

"Cab drivers, especially at Luxor, are always doing this and always helping out," says driver Martin Smith.

"I drove a cab for a year for DeSoto at night same time as he drives it. And you know in a lot of ways cab drivers are the first line of defense. They see everything that is going on," says Theresa Sparks from the Human Rights Commission.

It is the way it used to be before radios and computers.

"You need to stay engaged with the community. You got to care, work together, got to support each other," says San Francisco Police Capt. Al Casciato.

The suspects were released. There have been no more arrests.

"Anybody else who saw anything should speak up," says the cabbie.


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