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Unlicensed Cab Driver Dies Days After Robbery

By Quinn Ford | March 19, 2013 7:34am | Updated on March 19, 2013 5:20pm

ROSELAND — An unlicensed cab driver died Monday night, days after he was shot during a robbery  at 91st Street and Lafayette Avenue, authorities said.

Edwin Obazuaye, of the 400 block of East 167th Street in South Holland, was shot about 5:45 p.m. Thursday. The 48-year-old cab driver was shot after two customers he picked up robbed him, according to Officer Amina Greer, a police spokeswoman.

"He's a wonderful man. He died trying to provide for his family," said Jim Otokiti, president of Chicago's Akugbe-Oretin Club, a group of immigrants that included Obazuaye who moved from a part of southern Nigeria.

The organization is holding a meeting Tuesday night to discuss how it will pay for Obazuaye's funeral.

"He was very well-liked in our community," Otokiti said. "One of the reasons why this was so painful is if this happened to someone else, Edwin would have been one of the frontrunners figuring out how to pay for the burial."

Greer said Obazuaye picked up two men in the 8500 block of South Parnell in the city's Auburn Gresham neighborhood. The men tried to rob Obazuaye and shot him at West 91st Street and South Lafayette Avenue, grazing him in his head and hitting him once in his back, Greer said.

The men fled on foot with Obazuaye's cellphone, Greer said. It is unclear whether they took any cash.

Obazuaye was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in serious condition. He was pronounced dead at 7:03 p.m. Monday. 

Nobody was in custody as of Tuesday morning, police said.

City officials said Tuesday morning Obazuaye did not have a valid public chauffeur license at the time of the shooting.

Obazuaye's license was revoked in 2011 after the city found he had left a drunken driving conviction off his motor vehicle report, said Jennifer Lipford, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Lipford said if Obazuaye was operating a cab at the time of the shooting, he was doing so illegally.

Police sources said information suggests Obazuaye was driving his SUV as a cab illegally. Sources said no license information could be found for the Obazuaye's SUV but police were told Obazuaye did pick up the two men for fare before the shooting.

Otokiti said he visited Obazuaye, who leaves behind his wife and five-year-old son, Saturday in the hospital. All signs pointed to Obazuaye surviving and leading a better life, Otokiti said.

"He was effervescent that day. He never thought he would die," Otokiti said. "He just kept saying, 'This is just a second chance that God has given me."