Police were led to a taxi driver’s killer from the call he made ordering the cab from a North Side McDonald’s, his gun, surveillance footage and a pack of Newport cigarettes he left in the back seat, authorities said Friday.
Lamon Weathers was allegedly captured on camera pulling out a gun and shooting 58-year-old Kamil Shamji on the right side of the head late Sunday night in the 4400 block of North Leavitt.
After killing Shamji, Weathers could be seen reaching into the front area of the cab, pulling open the center console and turning off the ignition, which turns off the surveillance cameras, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said.
But what Weathers didn’t realize was that the SIM card of surveillance camera was still in the cab, according to police, who called footage of the murder “fairly shocking.”
Shamji, of Skokie, was discovered Monday morning, slumped over the driver seat of his cab, just behind the Sulzer Regional Library.
“You pose a threat and danger to everybody in this city who goes and walks around,” Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. told 19-year-old Weathers before ordering him held without bond.
Weathers responded to the judge’s scolding with kind words to all those in court.
“All of y’all have a nice day. Drive safe. Bless y’all,” said Weathers, who is a ward of the state.
Ahmed Kassam, 56, a city cab driver for 22 years and a friend of Shamji’s, said Weathers’ arrest brought a measure of relief to the victim’s family as they prepare to bury him this weekend.
“I was relieved,” Kassam said. “I was glad that, finally, the culprit has been found. CPD has done a very good job.”
Shamji’s brother was taken aback by the alleged shooter’s young age.
“I was surprised that a 19-year-old kid could this … without any feeling, nothing,” Shams Shamji said.
On Sunday night, at 10:48 p.m. Weathers called Flash Cab from his cellphone and requested to be picked up at the McDonald’s at 6749 N. Clark, and be driven to 4453 North Lincoln, Santini said.
Weathers, who was captured on the McDonald’s surveillance footage making the calls wearing a black jacket with multiple zippers, was picked up two minutes later, Santini said.
Weathers was also caught on the cab cameras entering the cab with the same distinctive jacket, Santini said.
When Kamil Shamji pulled over on North Leavitt, Weathers allegedly fired. The cab could be seen on video rolling forward before coming to a stop on the curb.
In addition to the in-cab surveillance cameras, a tablet and cellphone were also taken from the taxi, Santini said.
Police recovered .32-caliber shell casings and bullets from the cab. They also found a pack of cigarettes that had Weathers’ fingerprint, Santini said.
Weathers, of the 2000 block of West Arthur, was arrested on Wednesday at a Metra platform in Joliet wearing the same coat from the day of the murder, Santini said.
At the time of his arrest, Weathers allegedly had a .32-caliber gun.
Preliminary forensic testing reveals that the shell casings from Kamil Shamji’s cab were fired from Weathers’ weapon, Santini said.
Weathers has several previous juvenile convictions for making a false report, domestic battery, destruction of evidence, obstruction and aggravated battery to an official.
Weathers has been a ward of the state for the last two years, according to Assistant Public Defender Margaret Domin,
He completed 11th grade and recently interviewed for a job at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Domin said. Weather has a 2-year-old daughter who lives with her mom in Florida.
Earlier in the week, the cab driver’s union pointed to the shooting to underscore the danger all taxi drivers face.
“Kamil Shamji’s murder … reminds us all of the almost constant danger cab drivers put themselves in every day when they go to work. Serving every corner of Chicago, their visibility allows them to serve residents and visitors, but at the same time, it makes for easy targets,” according to a statement posted on the Cab Drivers United website.
Kamil Shamji had been a cab driver for 35 years, the last 20 for Flash Cab. The union demanded the city address the violence against cab drivers.
“A simple preventative measure such as silent alarm linked to GPS, that would dispatch the nearest CPD squad car, would give Chicago’s cab drivers the backup they need should they be placed in a dangerous situation with a potentially violent passenger.”