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Man Charged In Murder Of Cab Driver In Lincoln Square

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Police have made an arrest in the murder of a cab driver in Lincoln Square earlier this week.

Lamon Weathers, 19, of the 2000 block of West Arthur Avenue, has been charged with first-degree murder, police said on Friday. He was ordered held without bail Friday afternoon.

The crime was captured on the cab's video surveillance system, police said. Weathers' fingerprint was also found on a cigarette pack in the cab.

Shamji, 59, was found in his Flash cab Monday morning behind the Sulzer Regional Library in Lincoln Square, in the 4400 block of North Lincoln Avenue.

He died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Shamji picked up Weathers outside a fast-foot restaurant on the North Side and drove him to Lincoln Square, where Weathers shot him in the head.

"The video is fairly shocking. The driver turns, and obviously tells him what the fare is. He begins to pull out money, and the driver turns his head back and [Weathers] puts the money back, pulls the gun out, and shoots him," Chicago Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.


Weathers allegedly ran off with money, a tablet and a cell phone. Police said he also took the video camera out of the taxi, but the SIM card that stored the footage was still in the cab.

Officers recovered the murder weapon when Weathers was arrested in Joliet on Wednesday, trying to board a train out of town.

Weathers had been arrested five times in 2015 for a variety of misdemeanors. He pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property under $300 in October and received court supervision. A criminal trespass to a vehicle charge from December was pending.  The other three cases, all for relatively minor crimes, were dropped.

Shamji moved to the U.S. from Pakistan decades ago, and was pursuing his American dream, according to his friend, Sohail Ghaziani.

Ghaziani said Shamji was like a brother to him. They met 35 years ago, and have been friends ever since. Word of Weathers' arrest came as welcome relief.

"I'm just glad they caught somebody before he was laid down. It makes me happy that he's caught. It makes me sad at the same time that my friend lost his life for a few bucks," Ghaziani said.

He also said he hopes his friend's murder will lead to safer conditions for cab drivers.

"A panic button; that would help. I mean, a camera helps catching the guy. It doesn't help you save the life," he said.

Ghaziani said his friend was a widower who worked long hours most nights to help put his kids through college, and would sometimes let riders off the hook if they told him they had misplaced their money.

As for Weathers, Ghaziani said, "I have no words for this idiot. He's an animal. Hopefully he'll be caged in like an animal."

Shamji's funeral has been set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Ridgewood Memorial cemetery.

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