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Cab driver kills armed robber, goes to jail

Originally ran here as:
"Threatened, cabbie kills, dumps fare"
By William Kaempffer, Special to the Herald
June 18, 2001, The New Britain Herald

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT -- A cab driver shot and killed his passenger Friday after the man allegedly slashed the driver's throat during an attempted robbery, police said.

The cabbie then allegedly pulled the dying assailant from the car and drove off.

Police discovered the still-unidentified passenger on the side of the road in the 100 block of Chapel Street in the Fair Haven neighborhood. They received the report of an injured person at 11:15 p.m.

Officers located the driver, John Lutters, across town more than two hours later.

Lutters, 42, works for Metro Taxi.

"It looks like it's an attempted robbery and the cab driver retaliated with a handgun," said Sgt. John Velleca, a supervisor in the detective bureau. "At this point, there's no evidence that suggests anything other than that."

The investigation, however, was ongoing, Velleca said, and additional charges could be filed if the evidence warrants.

By Saturday, police had charged Lutters only with carrying a pistol without a permit.

Stories of the assault and shooting circulated quickly Saturday among the community of cab drivers.

"We know it's not a safe job. It's hard," said Mohammed Mahmoud, who has driven for Metro on and off for 10 years.

Standing by his cab outside Union Station, Mahmoud said his brother-in-law was robbed with a gun just two weeks ago. "They put a gun to his side," he said. "It's a scary job."

Drivers at Tweed-New Haven Airport said many of their colleagues are scared to take fares in certain neighborhoods.

"Fair Haven is a crazy place," said Atiq Khandhari, a driver for two years. Most drivers don't want to go there in the night time. I don't worry about it, because I drive for a living."

Accounts from police and Metro cab drivers helped assemble a picture of a routine fare that turned deadly.

Police believe Lutters picked up the passenger on Chapel Street, Velleca said. Almost immediately, the driver told police, the passenger put a pair of scissors to his neck and demanded money. Then he began to cut the driver's throat, Velleca said.

But Lutters carried a gun, police said. He fired once into the back seat, striking the man in the neck, police said.

Lutters then pulled him out of the car and drove off.

Authorities found the stricken man on the side of the road and rushed him to Yale-New Haven Hospital. He died at 3:17 a.m. Saturday.

It wasn't until 1:30 a.m. that Lutters called police. Officers found him and his cab in a parking lot of a coffee shop on Whalley Avenue at Ramsdell Street.

Lutters also was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he received stitches to close his wound. Later, he was brought to police headquarters and then to the lock-up.

He posted $25,000 bond Saturday afternoon and was released.

Police had not identified the dead man as of Saturday night, Velleca said.

Lutters could not be reached for comment Saturday. Officials from Metro Taxi did not return calls for comment.

The drivers on the street, however, said they're scared.

"We work at night. We don't know who's got a knife, who's got a gun," said Tariq Shaikh. "We are scared to go at night time to Fair Haven."

Said Mahmoud: "What are you going to do? You will defend yourself."

NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes. We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives -- and when an original link is available, we ALWAYS send all our visitors to read the original article on the original site where it was posted. God Bless the Americans that publish these stories - for assisting Americans in hearing the truth about guns saving lives.

KABA NOTE:  The fact that a cab driver must have a "permit" to defend his own life with a constitutionally-protected weapon speaks volumes about the nation's state of degradation. He probably saved his own life -- but now faces huge legal fees and a potential jail sentence. Pathetic.


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America needs fewer laws, not more prisons. JAMES BOVARD

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