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NEW YORK -- In what police are calling a road-rage attack, a cabbie was shot in the jaw early yesterday by a driver angry that the victim's taxi had been blocking the road at the Hempstead Village transit depot, Nassau police said.
The shooter fled and remained at large yesterday. The wounded cabbie was taken to Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola after the shooting, which happened about 1:30 a.m. He underwent surgery to remove the bullet.
The cabbie, whose name was not released, was confronted by the assailant about 10 minutes before the shooting, said Det. Lt. Raymond Cote of Nassau's Third Detective Squad.
The victim was parked and talking with several other cabbies on the road waiting for fares outside the railroad and bus station when the attack began, Cote said.
A man drove up to the group in a light-colored Toyota Corolla and started honking his horn and making threatening gestures because the cabbies were blocking the roadway, Cote said. The driver then argued with the cabbie he would later shoot before driving off, Cote said.
Ten minutes later, about 1:28 a.m., as the cabbie, 38, sat alone in his cab in front of the station, the driver of the Corolla pulled up next to him, Cote said.
With other cabbies nearby, the Corolla driver pulled out a handgun and fired at least once from inside his car. The bullet struck the victim and caused multiple bone fractures in his face, police said.
The gunman drove away, heading east on West Columbia Street, and was last seen turning onto Washington Street in Hempstead, police said.
The victim was listed in serious but stable condition at Winthrop, police said.
Other cabbies at the station described the assailant and his car to the police.
The victim is a driver for Taxi Latino of Hempstead, according to Larry Blessinger Jr., the cab service's owner.
Blessinger said his driver, whom he would not name, has worked for the service for "a few months."
"He will be making it through the shooting," Blessinger said, adding that the victim's family was at the hospital.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244- TIPS. Callers' identities can be kept anonymous, police said.