Cab driver Carlton James Jr. is recovering at home after he was shot three times while on the job
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local cab driver shot while on the job was released from the hospital and told the story of the call that changed his life.
"I've never had no problem, never, people have always told me it's a very dangerous job, but I've never had no experience like this, so it was okay. I love meeting people, I have a lot of regular clients you know, that tell me I'm a good driver, doing what I do," said Carlton James Jr., a cab driver who was shot by a passenger.
On January 12th, Carlton James Jr. picked up two passengers in his Checker cab at a gas station on Dunn Avenue and Harts Road and said there was no reason for him to be suspicious of his clients.
"You can't judge a book by its cover; some of my best friends have been people looking off of judgment another driver might have turned down, and they've been a nice customer and a good one at that,"said James.
But that wasn't the case. James was told to drive to West 19th Street. When he reached his destination in a residential neighborhood, he says the two customers only had part of the fare.
"They said 'well, we'll give you a couple extra bucks just go up to the next stop sign right there' and I said no problem, and in the process of me easing over that's when I heard the pow," said James.
At the point he was shot in the right arm, but says he didn't feel the gunshot.
"It was so fast and I was like, I can't believe this is this really happening that was the first one I heard and I think when I turned to look I could see the guy over my shoulder, that's where all the shots were at and I remember him telling me to stop the vehicle and I'm like I don't have anything, you could have whatever I got and I heard a second shot - pow and I just got out of there," added James.
James jumped out of the moving cab, fracturing his rib, and receiving scrapes and bruises all over his body in addition to the three gunshot wounds to his right arm.
"I got on my feet and started to run and I could hear the guy running behind me I said I only have about 25, 35 bucks in my pocket I was like you can have whatever I got and I threw it to them," said James.
When James approached Myrtle Avenue he started flagging down cars for help- luckily there was a JSO officer driving down the road. The two suspects have not been identified yet, but James remembers them clearly and the impact that night has made on his life. He was in the hospital for almost a week, and had to receive surgery, now he's trying to recover at home.
"By the predicament that I'm in right now I mean I don't make a lot of money, I just make enough to survive and get by with and now that I'm down, I mean I'm just out. I have no help from no one, I have no insurance, I have no insurance from the job, I'm just here. If it weren't for my parents right now, I don't know where I'd be ,I really don't, I'd be homeless," said James.
James is also raising his 15-year-old son and says he doesn't know if he'll be able to get back into a cab again. If he does go back to the same line of work, he says he will not be taking cash calls.
Doctors have told him it will take two to three months for a full recovery.
Police have not made any arrests. James said a detective notified him that they do have surveillance photos of the two men from a camera at the gas station where they were picked up.
Checker Cab says it is no longer taking calls from pay phones after the incident and that they are asking for more information from patrons before they dispatch cabs to a location.
First Coast News