Cabbie shot and killed during attempted robbery in West Philadelphia

Hafiz Sarafaqaz

May 8, 2013 3:36:24 PM PDT
Police say a taxi cab driver was shot and killed during an attempted robbery in West Philadelphia early Wednesday morning.

The victim, 33-year-old Hafiz Salman Sarafaqaz of Sellers Avenue in Upper Darby, was shot multiple times around 12:35 a.m. near an apartment complex located at the intersection of Cobbs Creek Parkway and Walnut Street.

According to police, Salman picked up a fare at 33rd and Walnut.

When Salman was dropping the man off at 62nd, police say the suspect pulled a gun and demanded money.

Hafiz stepped on the gas to to speed away and the robber opened fire.

Sarafaqaz was hit in the chest and the cab came to a stop after ramming the corner of a vacant house.

It was less than a mile from his home.

He was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was pronounced dead.

The gunman fled the area on foot.

Police have been scouring the area looking for evidence, including video surveillance.

"We know we've got video from this building, an apartment building. It's a fairly large building that, we know, has cameras on the exterior. We'll be reviewing that," said Lt. John Walker of the Philadelphia Police.

Sarafaqaz lived in Upper Darby with his wife and 7-year-old daughter.

His family says he worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Just recently, he told his cousin they should start taking Sundays off to spend more time together with their kids.

"He's a very nice guy, a very friendly guy. You can ask the entire community, they know him very well," victim's cousin Talha Rehman said.

His family says Hafiz became a U.S. citizen after moving from Pakistan 13 years ago.

He has three brothers and two sisters.

"Five minutes before, my older brother was talking to him on the phone and five minutes later we find out he's no more. I don't know what to say," victim's cousin Yassar Iqbal said.

His parents arrived in Upper Darby just recently for a visit.

"The mother and father just came from back home seven or eight days ago to visit him and this is what they end up seeing last night," Rehman said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477).