A McAlester family is beginning the new year grieving the loss of their loved one after police said a taxi driver was shot and killed on the job.
Police are working to find out who the killer is and figure out a motive. Meanwhile, the taxi company the victim worked for has started a fundraiser for the family. The fundraiser has already raised thousands of dollars.
Police said just after 6:30 Wednesday morning, Dustin Parker was shot and killed near South A Street and West Delaware.
"Guy is out making a living for his family, doing his job, no different than me and you are doing today,” McAlester Police Captain Kevin Hearod said.
The 25-year-old was on the job with Rover Taxi, which offered free rides home on New Year’s Eve to help keep people safe.
Officers said Parker was dead when they arrived on the scene.
"It was a pretty gruesome scene, as you can imagine. Several gunshots had been fired,” Hearod said.
Police and OSBI investigators found bullet holes in the driver's side window, leading them to believe Parker was the only one inside the car at the time of the shooting.
Hearod said several neighbors heard the gunshots and called police.
“A lot of people just assumed it was somebody shooting off firecrackers because it's New Year’s or somebody shooting up in the air because it is New Year’s; this is Oklahoma,” Hearod said.
Police said they are working to figure out if the company keeps a record of who its passengers are. Officers are also looking for any surveillance video from the area.
The company released the following statement:
“Rover Taxi is devastated at the loss of a member of our Rover family. Dustin was a steadfast friend, an amazing husband and father, and generous to a fault. He loved fiercely, worked tirelessly, and took on life with so much hope and enthusiasm that his presence brightened all of our lives. His bright, young life was taken far too early. Please keep his loved ones in your thoughts as we all try to pull together to get through these difficult times. Dustin will be missed, but never forgotten.”
If you’d like to donate to the fundraiser, click here.
The company also said it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.