36-year-old Afolabi Odifa was shot and killed while parked in his taxi cab in the Spring Lake Apartments parking lot Friday evening, August 15, 2014.
Mr. Odifa’s wife, Toyin, moved to the U.S. from Nigeria with their 9-month-old son only six months prior. Mrs. Odifa told media her husband left for a call, three miles from their home, around 10:00pm Friday evening. He never returned.
According to Fox Atlanta News, Mr. Odifa was discovered slumped over the steering wheel of his taxi cab, which was parked and running in the Spring Lake apartment complex parking lot, just off Chase Common Drive in Norcross. Residents noticed the parked taxi running with lights on for an unusual length of time and went to check on the driver. Mr. Odifa had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the back of his head.
Police are investigating “whether [Mr. Odifa] was shot during a robbery or if the call for a cab was legitimate or a possible setup.” The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now assisting with the investigation.
Our Legal Take
The tragic death of Mr. Odifa illuminates the dangers taxi drivers face on a daily basis and raises concerns over how to deter such violence and improve security measures for drivers. Armed robberies are becoming far too frequent across Georgia, particularly at apartment complexes.
What security measures, such as driver controlled locks, bullet proof passenger dividers and an open vehicle-to-station communication system, were available to Mr. Odifa inside his vehicle? What screening process is used by the ATL Taxi company to log and verify customer calls? How has the cab company worked to improve driver safety following previous assaults on drivers throughout the state?
What apartment parking lot security measures, such as surveillance cameras, bright lighting, access-controlled gates, and security patrols, were in place at the time of the shooting?
As Mr. Odifa was working at the time of his death, his family is almost certainly entitled to substantial compensation and benefits per Georgia workers compensation laws. Additional claims may also be filed against the apartment complex owner and management, should a lack of security measures have contributed to this tragedy.
Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will serve as a gravely-needed reminder to all Georgia taxi companies on the need to implement proper security measures inside their vehicles and to record and verify all calls. Perhaps, through the implementation of proper locks, bullet proof dividers and communication equipment, many other lives may be spared. These claims will also serve to demand apartment complex owners to do their part in protecting drivers legally on their premises. By, implementing proper access-controls, parking lot lighting, surveillance cameras, and security patrols on property grounds, future tragedies may be avoided.
The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims and families devastated by apartment complex violence as well as workers compensation claims. We offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600 or toll free at 888.842.1616.