Memorial for slain taxi driver
Published Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:26PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 26, 2013 6:28PM EST
Memorial services were held Tuesday for a taxi driver who was shot and killed last week in Cote des Neiges.
45-year-old Ziad Bouzid had picked up a pair of customers near Trudeau airport late Tuesday evening. His body was found in Cote des Neiges shortly after midnight after his car crashed into another vehicle.
Several hundred mourners, many of them taxi drivers, attended the service Tuesday afternoon at a mosque in St. Laurent.
Some knew Bouzid but many in attendance did not, saying the felt the need to attend to demonstrate their feelings about the crime.
About 60 women supported Bouzid's widow during the service, at times literally holding her up as she stumbled to walk. She said she was grateful for the show of love and affection for her and her family.
During the service taxi drivers announced they had raised $13,000 to help Bouzid's family, and that sum was being matched by Diamond Taxi.
Members of the public who wish to help the family can make a donation as well.
Mayor Denis Coderre also attended Tuesday's service, and confirmed that he will work with taxi companies on safety. Along with taxi companies he is considering installing videocameras inside cabs that operate in Montreal.
“He was a nice guy, a quiet guy - you know he's just a father going out to bring food on the table for his family - it was a shock for his colleagues,” said Raselma Sidale, who worked at the same company as Bouzid and was also his neighbour.
He said one of the most difficult things about this tragedy is that a motive hasn’t been determined.
“We don’t know if the act was an act of racism,” he said.
The increased tension of late, caused by the proposed Charter of Values, is making Sidale feel as though he isn’t a Canadian anymore, he said. He said is contemplating quitting his job as a taxi driver and possibly leaving Quebec.
Fellow driver Amine Ghazoui said he spoke with Bouzid the night he died, as the pair waited at a taxi stand for customers.
"I was talking because I was there -- it might have been me," said Ghazoui. "I feel like they killed me."
One man who know Bouzid well said he had immigrated to Canada years ago, and started driving taxis because his engineering credentials were not recognized.
Following the memorial service Bouzid's remains will be flown to his native Algeria for his funeral.
Now Ghazoui, and others, are waiting for the court case to proceed to find out why Bouzid was targeted.
"We want to know why he killed this poor guy," said Ghazoui of the suspect, who has been charged with second-degree murder.