Less than 24 hours after cab driver Jose Nicolas Dominguez was found shot to death in a North Raleigh apartment complex parking lot early Monday morning, police arrested a 25-year-old Franklin County man and charged him with first-degree murder.
After hearing that Major Earl Edwards Jr. of Middle Street in Louisburg was going to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon, 60 drivers with Amigo Taxi filed out of the company’s parking lot off Capital Boulevard and drove single-file to the Wake County courthouse.
“We respected the speed limit and drove around the city to let everyone know that somebody killed one of our drivers,” said Edwin Romero, who manages the taxi service.
Dominguez, 55, was a native of the Dominican Republic who moved to Raleigh about 15 years ago. He’s the father of two grown children, including a New York City police officer, and had been working as a driver with Amigo Taxi for seven years.
Dominguez was found dead near his cab in the parking lot of the Hodges Creek Apartments off Old Wake Forest Road at about 1:30 a.m. Monday. Homicide detectives said Monday that it appeared that several people were involved in the attack and that they may have fled in a white car.
They said their investigation was continuing after Edwards’ arrest. They did not disclose what led them to Edwards.
Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Monday that the motive for the killing was not clear.
Romero on Tuesday did not hesitate when asked if he and Dominguez’s fellow drivers thought robbery was behind the fatal shooting. “We think so,” he said.
The deadly shooting has shaken the taxi service, Romero said. Since the company started nine years ago, it has had its share of robberies, assaults and people who take off without paying their fare.
“It’s normal, people running without paying,” he said. “But never something like this.”
Dominguez lived on the bottom floor of an apartment complex on Brentwood Road, where neighbors and others had left bouquets of flowers wrapped in plastic and glass-encased candles near the front door. Romero described the stocky, bespectacled cabbie as a very honest man who worked hard and was respectful of others. He was known as “Papin.”
“Papin didn’t like trouble,” Romero said. “A lot of people in the community knew him. He wanted to help people with their problems.”
Dominguez worked the night shift all the years he was employed at Amigo Taxi, because he didn’t like Raleigh’s daytime traffic, Romero said. When he wasn’t driving for Amigo Taxi, Dominguez’s life centered around food and friends.
“He loved food,” Romero said. “Grilling out with friends, playing dominoes, hanging out at the lake barbequeing.”
Edwards was being held without the option of posting bail on Tuesday. He has a criminal record that does not include violent crime. He was convicted of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny in Wake County in 2013 and has two misdemeanor drug convictions in Franklin County.
He was placed on concurrent probation in all three instances and finished that without incident, according to state records.
Sughrue, the police spokesman, said detectives still think Edwards did not act alone.
“We think multiple suspects were involved,” he said.