Police were searching for a man who shot a livery cab driver four times in South Ozone Park Friday evening and have released a video tape of the suspect.
NYPD sources said that at 8:30 p.m., Trevor Bell stopped his gold Chevrolet Impala at the corner of 122nd Street and Sutter Avenue to let off a passenger. In the video taken from a camera inside of the vehicle, the passenger appears to argue with Bell and then pull out a handgun.
According to police, Bell was shot once in each leg, once in the right hand and once in the neck.
By the time police arrived on the scene, the gunman had fled and Bell was left bleeding in his car. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition before going into surgery, police said.
Earlier that evening, the passenger had approached Big D Royal Car Service at 117-02 Merrick Blvd. looking for a ride to the dead-end intersection.
Two days after the incident, on Sunday night, Frank Favors, owner of the car service, said Bell had come out of surgery and had even tried to speak to his mother.
“Things are looking better,” he said of the 53-year-old husband and father of two children.
The shooting was condemned by city Taxi & Limousine Commissioner David Yassky.
“Our thoughts are with Mr. Bell and his family,” he said. “We pray that Mr. Bell will make a full and speedy recovery and have every confidence that the NYPD’s intensive efforts will bring this cowardly individual to justice.”
But Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, encouraged drivers to use racial profiling to prevent such attacks when he spoke at a press conference days after the incident.
“Profile your passengers, it’s really important,” he said.
Mateo’s suggestions were not echoed by Yassky.
“Choosing which passengers to serve on the basis of race is illegal, downright wrong and simply unacceptable,” he said.
Longtime Ozone Park resident Manuel Romones said his cousin heard gunshots and called police after discovering the wounded Bel inside his car.
He added that gun violence is highly uncommon in his neighborhood.
“This neighborhood is good and quiet,” he said. “I’ve lived here since I was 11 years old, and nothing like this has ever happened.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said she did not hear any shots, but saw police block off her entire block with police tape.
“It was scary and really shocking,” she said, adding that police told her the suspect fled on foot down Sutter Avenue.
Police are asking for help identifying the shooter.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
Editor's note: This article has been changed since publication to correct the spelling of Trevor Bell's name.
©2010 Community News Group
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