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3 charged in death of Durham cab driver

Two teens are among three men charged in the fatal shooting Thursday of a cab driver outside a Durham hotel, police said Friday.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Two teens are among three men charged in the fatal shooting Thursday of a cab driver outside a Durham hotel, police said Friday.

Zyon McNeil, 17, and a 15-year-old boy are charged with murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Trayvion Lyons, 21, is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

McNeil was being held without bond in the Durham County jail, while Lyons was being held under a $1 million bond. A juvenile hearing was scheduled for the 15-year-old.

Ameer Suliman, 46, of Durham, went into the La Quinta Inn & Suites on West Park Drive at about 1 p.m. to report that he had been shot.

"I am at the front desk. I have a guy that’s been shot," a hotel employee told a 911 dispatcher. "I didn’t see a gunman. He literally just walked in and said he was shot."

Suliman was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Earlier in the day, police said, McNeil and the 15-year-old robbed a 17-year-old boy at gunpoint as he sat by a pool clubhouse in the 1400 block of Whispering Oak Lane. The teens stole the boy's phone, case and headphones and used the phone to call a cab, police said.

Suliman, a driver for Durham's Best Cabs, was dispatched to pick up the fare. A half-hour later, he had been shot.

Devie Smith, the dispatcher who sent Suliman on his final trip, said there were no red flags when she took the call.

"It seemed to be a normal trip," Smith said. "When I found out it was Cab 71 and he didn't survive, it just crushed me. It really did."

She had known Suliman for 20 years and called him a kind father of three young children and an extremely hardworking employee.

"(He was) constantly working. I don't care if I worked day, evening or night, he would be here. He would be here always," she said.

The work finally paid off a few years ago when Suliman was able to bring his wife and young children from Sudan to join him in America. Smith said.

"It's terrible, especially knowing how hard he worked to earn his living, to do something so senseless," she said.

Durham police K-9 officers and investigators located the three suspects nearby. Two were found in a room at the nearby Red Roof Inn, while the third was found near the railroad tracks by the La Quinta.

Investigators found several items belonging to Suliman and the 17-year-old who had been robbed, and police said a gun was also recovered.


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