Assaulted taxi driver in coma found with money in his pockets

Assaulted taxi driver in coma found with money in his pockets

Police search for four suspects. After dropping off customer in St. Laurent,
three men hit cabbie’s head and face

MIKE KING, DANIELLE ADAMS contributed to this report
The Gazette

August 18, 2004

Police are still searching for four suspects wanted in connection with
the severe beating of a taxi driver in north-end Montreal Monday
Garo Tachijian, a veteran of more than 20 years with the Champlain cab
company, remains in a coma as a result of his head injuries.
But according to Montreal police Constable Miguel Alston, Tachijian’s life
isn’t in danger and his condition is considered stable.
Money was still in Tachijian’s pockets when he was found at the back of an
isolated building on Place Henri Bourassa in Cartierville, so police are
treating the incident as an armed assault rather than armed robbery.
Alston said the motive for the vicious attack remains unknown.
A nephew who answered the phone at the family residence refused to comment.
A young woman age 16 to 18 years old whom Tachijian picked up as a fare is
one of the suspects.
She had him take her to the Cartierville address, possibly from somewhere
around St. Laurent, and apparently asked him to get her purse from his trunk
once they arrived.
Investigators say it was then that three men in their early 20s jumped
Tachijian and began hitting him on the head and in the face with a blunt
All four are said to have fled the scene in a Chrysler van.
“These things happen often,” said Antonio Perez, a fellow Champlain taxi
driver who has driven a cab in Montreal for 24 years. Perez said he has
heard of many cabbies who have been robbed and assaulted over the years.
A few years ago, Perez recalled, one of his fares jabbed a revolver into his
ribs and demanded whatever cash the cabbie could hand over.
“I was very afraid. I thought right away that I would die. I thought of my
children,” he said.
The robber just grabbed the money and Perez’s car keys, and took off.
It was only when Perez got to a phone to call police that he realized he was
bleeding. The barrel of the gun had been shoved into his ribs so hard that
it broke the skin.
Perez said, however, that he feels lucky having had only one such incident
in 24 years.
Richard Leblanc of the city’s taxi bureau said there have been 16 armed
robberies of taxi drivers so far this year.
He noted that is down from the corresponding period the past two years – 22
in the first six months of 2003 and 21 during the first half of 2002.
Comparatively, the number of armed robberies of Montreal depanneurs the
first six months of the past three years were 327, 350 and 262 respectively.
Leblanc reminded taxi drivers that they can refuse fares if they feel
threatened or are asked to take someone to an isolated area like an
industrial park late at night – when most assaults occur.
He said cabbies should trust their instincts and act accordingly.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress