RALEIGH Cab driver Nwabu Cyril Efobi finished work for the day and headed out the front door of the Universal Cab Co. at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. A fellow cabbie was still inside the station on Hill Street, across from St. Augustine’s University, but Efobi locked the door as a precaution as he left.
Seconds later, Efobi’s co-worker heard three gunshots. Someone had shot Efobi, a 56-year-old native of Nigeria.
“He said it looked like people were running away,” said Don Midas, another cab driver who had worked with Efobi at the cab stand for 15 years. Midas, who also moved to Raleigh from Nigeria, said he learned what happened from police and the co-worker who called 911.
Police and emergency medical workers found Efobi’s body crumpled atop a welcome mat at the front door. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police have not disclosed a motive for the shooting, nor had they announced an arrest by late Wednesday.
Midas described Universal Cab as an informal gathering spot for Nigerians who live in Raleigh. He said Efobi moved to Raleigh from Nigeria in the late 1970s or early 1980s to attend Shaw University and described him as “very friendly,” with a wife and family back in his native land.
“We are friendly with the kids over here. We think someone who does not live over here shot him,” Midas said. “The worst thing is we don’t know how it happened. Did he die for nothing? We don’t know. Was it random? We don’t know. We have no knowledge of someone quarreling with him.”
After the shooting, police evacuated merchants from the Washington Terrace Shopping Center. In addition to the cab stand, a storefront church, cellphone repair store, barber shop, convenience store and laundromat remained closed Wednesday afternoon.
Police also cordoned off the center with yellow caution tape. Efobi’s blue and red cab, with the number “11” emblazoned on the rear, was still parked near the front door of the cab company, about 10 feet from where he died.
Investigators ask anyone with information that might assist them to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919-834-4357 or visit raleighcrimestoppers.org for text and email reporting options. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for anonymous tips that help solve cases.