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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A cab driver, shot during a predawn robbery Sunday, spoke to the media Monday afternoon from his hospital bed at Ryder Trauma Center.
“I think God that I am still here among us,” said cab driver Jose Peña.
Peña’s family said he was shot on his 40th birthday at the Caraf Oil station on NW 12th Avenue.
Security video shows Peña getting into his cab and then being rushed by a gunman wearing a white t-shirt and jeans.
Peña said the robber attempted to carjack him, but he wasn’t going to let the man shove his way into the driver’s seat.
“The attacker wanted to get inside the taxi, so he could take me somewhere else,” Peña said. “I knew he was going to shoot me.”
As Peña pushed the gun aside, the bandit shot him in the leg and then made off in an older model white Nissan Maxima, taking Peña’s wallet with him.
“The bad guys think we carry a lot of money. But that’s not true, you know,” said a fellow cab driver who didn’t wish to be named in the police report.
The video then shows Peña hobbling to the gas station for help.
Peña was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery to repair an artery hit by a bullet.
Peña, who has been driving a cab for five years, is a husband and father of a 3 year old, 4 year old and 10 month old.
As he struggled with the shooter, Peña said he thought of his family.
“Never miss an opportunity to tell your family you love them, because you never know when you’ll be gone,” Peña said.
“My wife and children are my life,” he said, his voice choking.
The Ryder Trauma Center surgeon who operated on Peña said the trauma center sees gun violence “day and night.”
“I really hope policymakers, politicians, community leaders, all of us can sit down and put our heads together and figure out ways to combat this public health epidemic,” said Dr. Tanya Zakrison of UM Health Systems.
Peña faces more operations to repair nerve damage that has limited the motion in his right leg. He said he has no ill will for the man who shot him.
“He still has time, an opportunity to be forgiven and be a better person,” Peña said of his attacker, adding that he hopes the man is captured so that he “can’t do this to anyone else.”
Peña said he will go back to driving a cab.
“I have to support my family,” he said.
His family hopes someone recognizes the man in the video and turns him and his getaway driver in.
“He is a very sweet, kind and loving person. Out of all the uncles that I have he is my favorite,” said Peña’s nephew, Ruben. “I don’t think what I wanna say right now I can say on air. I would wanna say some really bad things to him.”
“Turn yourselves in because we have good witnesses and obviously good video,” said Kenia Fallat with Miami Police.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.