Suspected gunman reportedly pays $800 for cab ride to Vegas
August 13, 1999
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Shortly after beginning his night shift, a Los Angeles taxi driver unknowingly picked up suspected Jewish Center gunman Buford O. Furrow Tuesday night in the Hollywood area.
Furrow is accused in a shooting rampage at the North Valley Jewish Community Center and in the killing of an U.S. Postal employee.
The shootings occurred earlier Tuesday night approximately 30 miles northwest of where he later caught a taxi to Las Vegas.
The driver was hailed by Furrow who was walking north on Cherokee Avenue towards Sunset Boulevard around 8 p.m. PDT (11 p.m. EDT). Cab driver Hovik Garibyan says Furrow got in his cab and initially asked to be driven to the airport, then after driving a couple blocks changed his mind and asked how much the fare would be to go to Las Vegas.
No negotiation on fare
Garibyan replied that the fare would be $800, and said that Furrow agreed to the fare without any negotiation.
According to the driver there was little conversation en route to Las Vegas and Furrow slept most of the way. However, Garibyan said "he (Furrow) asked me where are you from and I said 'Armenia.'"
Garibyan said Furrow woke twice: once when they stopped for gas, and again when they drove through a McDonald's where Furrow ordered an ice tea.
Garibyan says he dropped Furrow off in Las Vegas around 12 a.m. PDT (3 a.m. EDT).
Garibyan later learned the identity of the man he'd driven to Las Vegas when his employer Alexander Konopov, vice president of Independent Taxi, was asked by the FBI to inquire if any of their drivers had taken a fare to Las Vegas Tuesday night.
Konopov said that Garibyan responded that he had and was asked to "turn on his television and see if the man on the news was the man he had taken to Las Vegas." It was.
Garibyan told reporters that it was like being born again "everybody told me that you were lucky he don't kill you too."
Security heightened at Jewish facilities across country
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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