Man charged with 2016 murder of a popular Raleigh cab driver

Tyron Cooper
Tyron Cooper CCBI

Police on Friday announced that homicide detectives have taken into custody a 31-year-old man in the fatal shooting late last year of a popular, 56-year-old cab driver.

Investigators charged Tyron Diontae Cooper with murder, according to a Friday afternoon news release from the Raleigh Police Department.

The victim, Nwabu Cyril Efobi, was a longtime driver with Universal Cab Co. at 432 Hill St., just across the street from the St. Augustine’s University campus in east Raleigh.

Efobi was shot last year on Nov. 8 at about 6:20 p.m. in front of the taxi station where he worked. Efobi, a native of Nigeria who moved to the United States to attend Shaw University, died at the scene, police reported.

Don Midas, another cab driver who also moved to Raleigh from Nigeria, had worked with Efobi at the cab stand for 15 years. Midas said Universal Cab was an informal gathering spot for Nigerians who live in Raleigh. He described Efobi as “very friendly,” with a wife and family back in his native land.

“We think someone who does not live over here shot him,” Midas said the day after the shooting. “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.”

Police on Friday did not disclose a motive for the shooting.

State records show that Cooper has lived in Holly Springs and on Maple Street in Raleigh, several blocks from where Efobi was shot.

Cooper has prior convictions for possession of a firearm by a felon and assault inflicting serious injuries. He also has a court date on Nov. 16, for second-degree trespassing, court records show.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald