PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man accused of shooting a cab driver, who is Muslim, on Thanksgiving will stand trial.
Cab driver Hakim Ghorbal left the courtroom Tuesday escorted by city police after his testimony.
He took the stand at the preliminary hearing sitting down because of his injuries. Normally, in City Court, those who testify are standing.
He was shot after picking up a fare at the Rivers Casino at 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. He testified the man he picked up was Anthony Mohamed, who wanted to be taken to his home in Hazelwood.
But when he got to Hazelwood, Ghorbal testified Mohammed told him he left his wallet in the house and to wait for him to get his money.
Ghorbal testified he waited about five minutes.
"If I felt unsafe I wouldn't have waited," he testified. "I was waiting for him to pay my fare and he appeared with a rifle. He started shooting. I was shocked. The bullet is still lodged in my back. It's near the spine."
But at no time during his testimony did he describe any argument or discussion about religion or ISIS as previously reported.
Muslim leaders called on authorities to investigate the shooting as a hate crime, but ethnic intimidation charges have not been filed.
"It's easy to jump to a conclusion without knowing anything," said Mohammed's defense attorney Randall McKinney. "I have no idea where that allegation came from, but as the victim testified today under oath, it was abundantly clear that there were no statements made that were directed towards him that would have led him to believe that this shooting was based on any kind of religious hatred."
Mohammed's lawyer says there's no proof his client fired.
But Ghorbal named Mohammed as the gunman.
"We're not contesting the fact that my client was a passenger in the cab," said McKinney, "but our position is he left to retrieve his wallet and while he was gone someone else committed this horrendous act."
Even so, District Judge James Hanley found there was enough evidence to hold Mohammed for trial on charges including attempted homicide.
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