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Cabbies Honor a Slain Colleague

Times Staff Writer

Nearly 100 taxis formed a solemn procession from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday morning to honor a cab driver found shot to death Saturday after picking up two passengers at the airport.

The body of Ami Fhima, 31, borne in a hearse at the head of the procession, was then put on an El Al Airline jet for a flight to his native Israel. Accompanying the body were Fhima’s wife Judy, 29, and their sons, Orr, 2 1/2, and Ben, 3 months.

Police said they still have no idea who had robbed and killed the cab driver. Fhima had been driving a cab at night to pay for his studies in engineering and real estate.

Investigators said Fhima was shot in the head and dumped in Inglewood after picking up two passengers at the United Airlines terminal about 7 p.m. Some cab drivers complain that they are forced by city regulations to accept virtually all fares at the airport, regardless of the apparent danger.

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‘Some Struggle More’

“Everyone struggles to make a living, and some have to struggle more,” Rabbi Baruch Gradon told mourners who assembled for a funeral service at the Chevra Kadisha Mortuary in Hollywood before the drive to the airport.

“No one drives a taxi for the fun of it,” Gradon said. “They do it because they have responsibilities.”

John Grumet, a friend of the family, said Fhima moved to this country in pursuit of the “American dream” of economic and personal freedom and success.

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“Unfortunately, he never got to finish that dream,” Grumet said. “They stole his merchandise and his life. But they didn’t steal his friends and his love. . . . “


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