INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis police arrested two people accused of killing a taxi driver over the weekend.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said 30-year-old James Riley and 29-year-old Alysianna Martin were arrest Tuesday on murder charges.
Their arrests come after 55-year-old Abdukadir Filanwaa found shot to death inside his taxi at about 4 a.m. Saturday near 11th Street and New Jersey Avenue.
“All around we’re just heart wrenched here. We’re sad,” said zTrip general manager Bobbie Liebrandt. “He was always a guy that made you laugh. He was quiet and respectful.”
The victim worked for Liebrandt for several years after fleeing from violence in Somalia. She described him as hardworking and polite.
“He was here for 25 years working his tail end off, and for whatever reason they murdered him,” said Liebrandt.
According to court records, video from the victim’s taxi cab recorded the suspects being picked up at the Greyhound bus station on Illinois Street. After getting into the cab, the suspects allegedly began arguing about money, and one of the suspects pulled out a gun and forced the victim to drive around at gunpoint.
While the affidavit claims Martin denied taking part in the shooting, Riley allegedly admitted he shot the victim and called it a misunderstanding.
IMPD said thanks to help from the community, detectives were able to identify Riley and Martin as suspects. Both were taken into custody without further incident.
“It takes us all. We all have to work together to ensure justice can be served,” said IMPD officer Samone Burris.
Court records show the two suspects have a lengthy criminal history, with a combined 19 felony charges in Marion County over the last decade. Most of the charges stemmed from drug and theft cases. The most recent involved a woman being assaulted downtown in June.
Despite their arrests, the murder has a lot cab drivers worried about their safety.
“That concern is out there for our drivers. A lot of drivers are angry because they know this was a good guy, and there’s no reason for him to be murdered,” said Liebrandt.
Both suspects remain behind bars in the Marion County Jail and are being held without bond.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will make the final decision on charges.
Indianapolis Muslim community shaken after Filanwaa’s death
Funeral services for Filanwaa were held Tuesday.
“He’s an ordinary person just like every other Muslim immigrant and decided to do his job, and then his life is taken,” said Imam Ahmed Alamine with the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association.
Alamine said Filanwaa fled violence in Somalia in the 1990s and had been living in Indianapolis ever since. He, like so many of the city’s Muslim immigrants, became a cab driver, and his killing has devastated his family in more ways than one.
“He was a provider for his family back home in Somalia,” Alamine said. “Now that source of income for his family is gone.”
A prayer service was held for Filanwaa, and he was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. Filanwaa’s only daughter, who lives in the United Kingdom, was unable to make it to the United States to say goodbye.
“She is definitely devastated,” Alamine said.
Alamine added that Filanwaa’s daughter hopes to come to Indianapolis at some point and visit her father’s burial site.
The Imam said the killing has shaken the Muslim community, and he’s fielded numerous calls and text messages from other cab drivers who are concerned.
“Many people are taxi drivers,” Alamine said. “[Some are wondering] is it going to be my last day when I leave home just like what happened to Abdukadir?”
Max Lewis and Jesse Wells contributed to this story.