Slain taxicab driver Hafiz Sarfaraz was just trying to work hard to support his family.
The All City Taxi employee was finishing his nightshift about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday when he was shot multiple times in West Philadelphia, family friends said. He was pronounced dead an hour later at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, according to police.
"It doesn't make any sense," said Alex Friedman, manager of All City Taxi. "We're all mourning for our fellow driver and business associate. This is a terrible tragedy we just experienced."
Sarfaraz, 33, was married and the father of a 7-year-old daughter, according to his friends. His lived with his wife, daughter and brother in Millbourne about half a mile away from where he was shot on the 6200 block of Walnut Street.
"It's just very bad. We lost a great family member, a great friend," said Farooq Ahmad, 25, a family friend.
No arrests were made as of Wednesday afternoon. Police released few details of the incident.
Ahmad, who also works as a taxicab driver, said the incident was an armed robbery. Police told Sarfaraz's family they are seeking to look at surveillance footage from the neighhood to try to identify the killer.
"Cab drivers don't have much money when they are working," Ahmad said. "It's not safe out here anymore. I've been robbed, but I survived. I was sliced and stabbed."
Sarfaraz immigrated from Pakistan about 13 years ago to make a better living, according to Ahmad. "He was just like any foreigner: Come to any country to work hard, not to cause any trouble," Ahmad said of Sarfaraz. The slain taxicab driver went through hardship in Pakistan. He came to the United States in pursuit of ease and comfort, Ahmad said. In addition to supporting his wife and daughter, Sarfaraz was also taking care of his parents, according to Ahmad. Sarfaraz was part of an immigrant community of men who drive taxis to support their families.
"I've been driving a cab for four years now. It's no safety," Ahmad said. "We're not protected by anyone. We're not allowed to carry weapons."
The taxis have an emergency button that connects with police radio, but Ahmad said that button does little to thwart a robbery situation.
All City Taxi is offering a $3,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the homicide.
"He's just been working hard and building himself. He didn't bother anyone," Ahmad said of Sarfaraz. Whoever shot and killed his friend, "We want that guy to be in jail," Ahmad said, "so no other person has to go through what this guy did to our friend."