Taxi drivers speak out as another is murdered in Medellin
On Sunday morning yet another taxi driver was murdered in Medelin, Colombia’s second largest city. The victim was identified as Mario León Osorio Gómez, a 62-year-old taxi driver who dedicated 30 years of his life to driving a taxi. Osorio was murdered frm the back seat while driving the taxi. The attack took place in the city’s “El Centro” neighborhood.
According to Medellin police chief Óscar Gómez Heredia, Osorio was stabbed nine times while driving the taxi. The driver was robbed of nearly all of his belongings before the attacker escaped.
As he was stabbed, the taxi that Osorio was driving veered off the road and crashed. Witnesses reported the accident, and Osorio was still alive when police arrived at the scene. He died while being transported to receive medical care.
The murder comes on the heels of another attack in the city’s San Diego neighborhood just a day before, and continues a dangerous trend in Medellin for taxi drivers, who are often targeted due to their vulnerability while driving and their need to carry cash from their fares. Osorio is the fourth taxi driver to be killed in Medellin this month, and the third in a span of two weeks.
Taxi drivers are speaking out, and some are refusing to take passengers to problematic areas, such as the city’s Altavista neighborhood in the western part of the city. Juan Pablo Durango, a taxi driver who frequents the city’s El Centro neighborhood, told Caracol TV that he was worried for his safety.
“We are worried. Whenever we drive in El Centro, we have to close our windows and remain vigilant against an attack. The mayor and the police need to help us“, said Juan Pablo Durango, a taxi driver in Medellin.