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May 7, 2018

Taxi Driver is Murdered in the City

Sbiero Habib Hajjara

The second murder victim in the city is a taxi driver who was murdered at the corner of Mahogany Street and Western Avenue not far from where mechanic, Daniel Guardado, was killed hours earlier. Honduran National, thirty-six year old Sbiero Habib Hajjara was shot three times on the chest and once to his forehead. The well-known taxi driver was taken down inside his car after he took home a female passenger he had picked up from a nightclub.  The cabbie is known as a straight and narrow person so that police are baffled by his murder. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Well-known taxi man Habib Sbeiro Hajjara was shot and killed inside his cab on Mahogany Street just before dawn on Sunday morning.  He was reportedly dropping off a fare when he was executed sometime around four a.m.  The sequence of events has led many, including personal friend Jose Luis Espat, to believe that the popular cabbie may have been lured to his death.

 

Jose Luis Espat

Jose Luis Espat, Friend of Deceased

“Saturday was my dad’s birthday, so myself, my dad and some other friends that I grew up with, we went to play pool by Long Island.  And we were there playing pool and approximately, maybe I’d say about one [o’clock] Habib came in and he came to say hi and stuff and he went to the bathroom.  And when he came back, by the pool table where we were playing, he said that someone had called him, so he had to leave.  So he left.  When he left, then I just went to drop off the rest of the guys and went home.  Approximately, let’s say about five a.m., I got a call saying that they just kill yoh bally.”

 

Habib had been shot multiple times to the body.  Bullet holes were observed to the right upper rib cage, as well as a single wound to the forehead.  He was later discovered inside his Nissan Sentra near the intersection with Western Avenue.

 

Alejandro Cowo

ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Eastern Division

“Just after or just minutes before four o’clock, police responded to shots being fired at the corner of Western Avenue and Mahogany Street.  Upon police arrival at that location, they observed a grey in color Nissan car with taxi license plates, facing towards the passport building.  Upon [checking] inside of the vehicle, police observed a male person with several apparent gunshot wounds to the body.  That male person was identified as Habib Sbeiro Hajjara.”

 

Investigators report that he had picked up a female passenger from a local nightclub and was on his way to drop her off when he was fatally attacked inside the vehicle.

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“So far what police have gathered is that he was at one of the nightclubs in Belize City and that he had picked up some passenger and was to transport that passenger somewhere in the Mahogany Street area and that is where his body was found.  So far we don’t have any suspects in this investigation and the motive is something that we are still trying to establish.”

 

Reporter

“Do you all believe that he picked up the person who killed him, or that he was attacked on the way?”

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“We don’t have that information yet, so I cannot tell you if it was the person that actually picked him up or if it was somebody else that did the shooting.”

 

Espat has known the Honduran national since boyhood and attests to his friend not being one to involve himself in anything illegal, making a motive for the homicide even more difficult to discern.

 

Jose Luis Espat

“I know Habib for over eighteen years.  I was one of the few persons who had a business at the Belize tourism village when there was only terminal one.  He was also working there and he worked there for several years and I know Habib for quite some time and I can assure you that I have never seen him in my life angry or mad at anybody.  Even when he’s taking a drink he’s a quiet, calm person, always willing to help people and even now as I am speaking to people all around, they have the same opinion, you know.  I don’t know what transpired, you know, in his life or what could have led to something like this happening to him, but it’s not a norm or a usual thing that he would be involved in anything shady.”

 

According to Assistant Superintendent of Police Alejandro Cowo, Hajjara’s personal effects were found undisturbed inside the vehicle.

 

ASP Alejandro Cowo

“There is no indication that it is a robbery.  As far as we know, family members had identified that all his properties were along with him.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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