Monday, January 22, 2018
Public safety

Taxi driver shot to death in robbery didn't worry about safety, brother said

TAMPA ­— John Dooley didn't worry much about safety in his 32 years as a cab driver.

He had regular costumers, said his brother Jim Dooley, 54. But he also went into parts of town other cab drivers avoid.

"I guess he got kind of lackadaisical toward the end," Jim Dooley said. "He just thought the money was better there because no other cabbies would go in there."

John Dooley, 56, was working Sunday night for Yellow Cab when two men called for a ride about 7:45 p.m. Their final destination is unclear. After he picked them up, they shot him and fled the scene.

Someone found Dooley slumped over in the cab's driver's seat at 8 p.m. near Eskimo Avenue and N 18th Street, police said. They are still searching for the two riders. Robbery was the motive, police said.

While police continue to search for leads, Dooley's family is "hanging in there," his brother said.

Jim Dooley and their mother live in Hudson, where John Dooley also lived. They have a sister in California and another brother who died six years ago.

"It's hard to believe," Jim Dooley said.

The family moved to Florida from New Jersey in 1975. John Dooley loved sports and music, his brother said. They went to Tampa Bay Rays games together. John Dooley liked the blues and the Grateful Dead. They shot pool together. John Dooley's county pool league team was in first place.

The brothers didn't talk much about work because they had opposite schedules.

"He worked the night shift," Jim Dooley said. "I'd be coming home and he'd be going out."

But he knew his brother loved his job.

"He didn't want to do anything else," he said. "He liked driving. It's pretty much all he did for 32 years."

Officers canvassed the neighborhood where John Dooley was found and searched the area with dogs and by air. On Tuesday, they continued to interview witnesses and search for possible fingerprints that may have been left behind, said Tampa police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor. But no arrests have been made.

It was the third robbery from the weekend in Tampa that ended in shootings, including one other that was fatal.

In the first, two men were shot on W Amelia Avenue about 9 p.m. after they were approached by two men who demanded their belongings. The victims refused and were shot in their lower bodies.

About an hour later, Agustin Osorio-Pacheco, 41, a construction worker from Winter Gardens who was staying at the Extended Stay America Hotel on W Spruce Street, was shot and killed during a robbery as he ran for safety.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for anonymous tips that lead to an arrest in the shooting death of John Dooley. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.

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