A cab driver in the Crescent City suburb of Metairie, Louisiana will not face charges after shooting and killing the man who was trying to rob him at gunpoint last week.
23-year-old Gerald Pope allegedly targeted the 43-year-old cabby around 1 a.m. Monday morning as the armed citizen was sitting in his vehicle at an intersection in the city’s southeast side, pulling a gun and demanding the driver hand over his cash.
The cab driver, who was not publicly identified, shot Pope multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene, said Tim Genevay, a spokesperson for the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office.
“The driver was presented with a threat to his life,” Rivarde said in explaining why the shooting is being considered justifiable.
Sheriff’s Office investigators suspect Pope is the man who robbed two other drivers from the same cab company, according to Rivarde.
Pope matched the description of the robber in a holdup at 3 p.m. the day before the shooting and another reported last week, Rivarde said. No other details were immediately available about the two earlier robberies.
While the number of carjackings has declined in New Orleans this year compared to 2022, criminals are still targeting drivers on a regular basis, and the victims of these encounters have had harrowing tales to tell. Back in May one woman in Metairie was even thrown from her car by a suspect intent on getting behind the wheel.
Captured by a security camera from a nearby house overlooking Dreyfous Street, video footage obtained by WWL-TV shows a man approaching a car and yelling, “Please help me, my mom just died. Please help me.”
Julie Pursell was driving after just picking up her daughter, 23-year-old Megan Stewart, from her job as a home health caregiver. Stewart’s 2-year-old daughter, Phoenix, was strapped into a car seat in the back.
In an episode that unfolded in seconds, Pursell found herself fighting off the attacker as he wedged himself into the car and on top of her.
Pursell said she was fighting him off as he floored the gas pedal, slamming into a passing car on West Esplanade Avenue.
Pursell was left scraped and bruised after tussling with the would-be carjacker and falling into the street.
“We started tumbling onto West Esplanade and into oncoming traffic,” Pursell said.
“I thought my mom had died from what I had seen,” Stewart said. “And I saw my daughter, she was just screaming.”
Stewart’s Honda Accord ended up totaled after it slammed into the other car.
“At that time I didn’t care what happened to me, I just wanted my daughter safe,” Stewart said.
Had Pursell been armed at the time she too would likely have been justified in using deadly force against her attacker, but the threat against the cab driver’s life was even more acute given that Pope was pointing a gun at him.
Pope’s family has my sympathy, but the truth is that his death was the direct result of his poor decisions. He was the one who decided to approach that taxi with a gun in hand, and while he may have gotten away with a couple of prior offenses, he made a fatal mistake in targeting a victim who had both the motive and the means to fight back and make it home safely at the end of his shift.