Somali taxicab driver dies of injuries; four men charged

The Somali cab driver found beaten Tuesday in Beltzhoover died Friday evening, two people close to the matter said.

The news first came from Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus, who called the death “a senseless tragedy.”

And Wasi Mohamed, executive director of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, confirmed the death of Ramadhan Mohamed, 31, of Northview Heights. They are not related.

He said Ramadhan Mohamed leaves behind a wife who is eight months pregnant and a 2-year-old son, both of whom live in Kenya.

Court records indicate that two people — King Edwards and Hosea Moore, both 20, of Beltzhoover — had been arrested in connection with the attack. Two others, Daniel Russell, 19, and Christen Glenn, 18, were being sought, the records indicte. Police said the men “called the cab with the intent of robbing the driver.”

The four faced charges of attempted homicide, robbery and conspiracy, police said in a news release issued before Mr. Mohamed died. Homicide charges are expected now.

According to a police affidavit, an unnamed witness told investigators that the four suspects were in a house on Curtin Street when they decided to rob a taxi driver.

Mr. Russell requested a cab to pick them up at 438 Climax Street, and the four discussed how they were going to pull off the robbery. The four then left the house for about five minutes.

When they returned, Mr. Russell was “bragging about how bad he beat the victim,” the affidavit said.

The witness told police that after a few minutes Mr. Russell and the other suspects went back to Climax Street to move the body and the cab. Mr. Russell also wanted to make sure the victim was dead, the witness said.

When they returned to the house, Mr. Russell told the witness that “the victim was still alive so he kicked him in the face and neck in an attempt to kill him,” the affidavit said.

The attack had put members of the local Somali Bantu community on edge.

But police said they had found no evidence that the driver had been targeted for anything other than robbery.

“The investigation is ongoing; however, there is no evidence that robbery or beating of the driver were motivated by the driver’s nationality,” police said.

Mike Manko, spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney’s office, said his office agreed with police that there was no evidence of ethnic intimidation in the attack.

Bantu and other Muslim community leaders held a news conference Thursday, saying they saw the beating as a violent manifestation of a wave of discrimination against their populations in recent months.

They said such incidents have been stirred up by political rhetoric and policies casting harsh suspicion on them as Muslims and with roots in Somalia, one of seven nations spotlighted by now-suspended federal travel restrictions.