Cab driver killed in Southeast Portland after picking up passenger

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — A longtime Radio Cab driver was fatally stabbed Sunday night in Southeast Portland after picking up a passenger, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) reported.

PPB said a suspect, 30-year-old Moses Lopez, was taken into custody and booked into the Multnomah County jail. He faces charges of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.

According to court documents, Lopez already had a warrant out for his arrest from Coos County for allegedly threatening two men with weapons last Monday. He was charged and released, but never showed up for his Thursday court appearance — ultimately making his way to Portland.

The name of the victim won’t be released until they’ve been positively identified, the medical examiner confirms cause of death and family members are notified, PPB said.

Officers responded to a reported stabbing around 6:40 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Southeast Washington Street and Water Avenue, finding the victim dead at the scene.

Radio Cab didn’t report the name of the driver but released the following statement about him: “He was a kind and dedicated cab operator. He had been driving over a decade and never had a complaint. He cared about Portland and loved this city and especially loved helping people get from one place to another. He was a model driver and an exemplary example of the people who have kept Radio Cab as a vibrant and desired place to work.”

“I think everyone is kind of still reeling and trying to process what happened,” said Darin Campbell, a former cab driver who’s now director of marketing at Radio Cab. “I think drivers are going to be far more aware of who’s in their backseat and what’s going on because this absolutely came out of nowhere. It was completely unprovoked, he never saw it coming.”

Campbell told KGW that the security camera inside of the taxi cab captured the entire gruesome attack.

“It did not leave anything out,” said Campbell. “And as disturbing as it was to watch, it is amazing evidence.”

Other Radio Cab drivers are on edge after hearing the news.

“It’s getting rougher and rougher out there, driving around,” said Justin Byington, a Radio Cab driver since 2014. “It’s always surprising, but it’s not unheard of. I mean, it has been a long time since thing kind of thing has happened to this extent, though, where someone actually passes away.”

In its news release, Radio Cab said the driver’s death “is a sure sign that Portland is in need of serious help.”

Campbell told KGW that the victim recently found his biological parents and was making plans to meet them in person for the very first time.

“While our company is in mourning trying to make sense of this difficult loss, we ask our city leaders to do more to allow police to enforce laws, bolster the Portland Police Bureau resources and focus on the health of our citizens,” the company said.

Police said they’re not seeking any additional suspects.

PPB homicide detectives will be investigating this incident. Anyone who has information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective Shaye Samora at [email protected] or 503-823-0768 or Detective Tony Harris at [email protected] or 503-823-0441. Please refer to case number 23-91797.

If the medical examiner determines the driver’s death to be a homicide, it will bring Portland to a total of 22 homicides in 2023. Portland saw back-to-back record-breaking homicide totals in 2021 and 2022.

The current year’s homicide rate started off a bit slower in January and February, but a greater number of homicides in March brought the year’s trend back up closer to the prior two years.

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