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Police arrest two suspects in deadly taxi shooting, family speaks out

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- A hard working cab driver picks up a "final fare" and ends up murdered on a lonely, isolated street and loved ones are left to ask, "Why?"

Late Thursday afternoon police arrested two men in connection with the murder and robbery of cab driver Mamdou Diop.  20-year-old Keyawhan Lowe and 24-year-old Dakeith Pleasant are in jail.  According to police, Diop was shot twice in the head inside his cab on Baltimore Ave. in North Fairmount early Wednesday morning.

Moustafa Diop came to this country from his native Senegal about 14 years ago.  A college graduate in his country, he started driving cabs here in order to make money and support his family.  He was the father of three children, two little girls ages 7 and 9 and a 3 year old little boy.

Diop's body was spotted by a motorist hanging out of his cab, early Wednesday morning on Baltimore Avenue in North Fairmount.  He'd been shot twice in the head and there is evidence that he had been robbed.

Vicki Henry is the mother of Diop's 9 year old daughter.

She tells us, "I was talking to him when he picked up the fare.  We talk occasionally on the phone and usually if he feels he needs to watch the customer he says, 'I gotta go, I'll call you back when I drop.'  He didn't call back."

Vicki met Moustafa in 2003, when they both worked for the same cab company. She as a dispatcher, he as a driver.  She says all the drivers ride with fear as a passenger, actually refusing fares in many neighborhoods.

The last fare Moustafa Diop picked up late Tuesday night was on Betton Street in the west end.  No one knows why his cab ended up in North Fairmount.

Vicki explains, "I have 12 on my Facebook, I 'liked' you guys.  I seen a picture, the back end of the cab.  I seen the number on it and something just hit me it was his cab and I called around to find out it was his cab and it was him."

Vicki says as a college graduate Moustafa wanted the same thing for his children and he was willing to work for it.  His goal was to open a cleaning business or an import export business dealing with his homeland of Senegal. 

She wants people to know, "That he was just a good guy, out there trying to make money to get out of the cab business because it's so dangerous, to support his kids.  His goal was to put all three of his kids through college to help them survive, make it better than what we are."

Vicki says the toughest thing right now is what the kids are going through.  She says her daughter wants to know who killed her father.  Maybe now she will have an answer.

Homicide detectives got assistance from the fugitive apprehension unit to make the arrests.  The two suspects will be in court Friday morning.

Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe and LIKE him on Facebook

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