FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A half-empty bottle of soda and a lunch bag played key roles in the arrest of an attempted murder suspect, according to investigative documents from the Broward Sheriff’s Office obtained by CBS4 News.
CBS4 has learned the Broward Sheriff’s Office has arrested the man it said shot and nearly killed a cab driver just days before Thanksgiving.
Williamson Joseph, the father of five daughters, said he learned of the arrest of the suspected gunman, Semie Robinson, last week.
Joseph, speaking Tuesday for the first time publicly about the shooting, said he feels safer knowing that Robinson is locked up.
According to investigators, Robinson was Joseph’s first fare on the morning of November 18, outside a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale.
Joseph said he had a gut instinct that something was wrong as soon as Robinson got in the cab.
“He went to sit down right behind me,” Joseph told CBS4’s Carey Codd. “I was very scared at that time.”
Joseph said he drove Robinson to Pompano Beach and when they arrived at the destination, Robinson gave Joseph a specific instruction.
“He say, ‘Back in the driveway so I can pay you,’” Joseph recalled. “After that he didn’t ask me no questions. He just started shooting me. He didn’t ask me for any money. He didn’t ask me for nothing.”
Joseph bears a scar from his neck to his nose where the first shot grazed him. A second bullet went into his right armpit. He credits a higher power with saving him from a certain death.
“God saved my life,” Joseph said. “(Robinsion) tried to blow my head off.”
After the shooting detectives say Robinson fled but investigators said it’s what he left behind that helped solve the case.
A search warrant filed in the case revealed that Robinson’s blue lunch bag and bottle of Mountain Dew remained in the back seat of the cab. Detectives said they matched Robinson’s DNA to the mouthpiece of the soda bottle.
According to the warrant, Robinson denied having been in the cab or having any involvement in the shooting.
Williamson Joseph, meanwhile, spent nearly a week in the hospital and racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills. He said he hasn’t been able to work or earn money since the shooting and says it will be a lean Christmas for his five daughters.
“I work very hard to put food on the table for my family,” Joseph said. “So now, it’s very difficult for me.”
Joseph said it’s even more difficult knowing that Robinson has a violent criminal history dating back more than a decade.
State prison records showed Robinson has been arrested in the past for crimes ranging from attempted robbery with a deadly weapon to possessing a firebomb. Robinson was released from prison earlier this year and was on probation at the time of the shooting.
Joseph said Robinson should not have been free to hurt him.
“The guy cause all that, you know,” he said. “He ‘s a criminal. They should never let him out. Never, never. Keep him in the jail, in the prison.”
Robinson is being held without bond at the Broward County Jail on a charge of attempted murder.
Joseph hopes to find a new job in a few months – he said driving a cab is too dangerous. Joseph knows how close he came to leaving his wife and five children without a husband and father.
“If I was dead, I would have left my five children behind,” he said. “That’s going to be a sad situation.”