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2 arrested in killing of longtime Indianapolis Somali-American cab driver

Wednesday September 14, 2022
By Lauren Kostiuk

Abdukadir Filanwaa was found shot to death in his taxi early Saturday morning near 11th and New Jersey streets.

James Riley and 29-year-old Alysianna Martin were arrest Tuesday on murder charges. IMPD Supplied

INDIANAPOLIS — A taxi driver who served his community for more than two decades was shot and killed early Saturday morning while on the job.  

IMPD homicide detectives arrested 30-year-old James Riley and 29-year-old Alysianna Martin for their alleged involvement in a homicide.  

Shortly after 4 a.m. on Sept. 10, a 911 caller reported the cab had been parked near 11th and New Jersey streets with its doors open for a prolonged period of time. 

Officers from IMPD's Downtown District responded and found a man sitting in the driver's seat of the yellow minivan with the engine still running, according to a police report. 

Medics pronounced 55-year-old Abdukadir Filanwaa dead at the scene.  

On Tuesday, his co-workers gathered for a procession outside zTrip in Indianapolis.  

“We want to show the community that we care about our brotherhood of taxi drivers and we are going to support him,” said Bobbie Liebrandt, the general manager for zTrip.  

Liebrandt said Filanwaa worked in the community as a driver for about 25 years to provide for his family.  

“In the 25 years I’ve been here, he was the politest driver I’ve ever encountered. He was very friendly, the 'give you the shirt off his back' kind of type,” she said.  

Fellow driver Anthony Felumero also came to show his support, saying he doesn’t want Filanwaa to become another statistic.  

“I wanted him to have some recognition for all his 25 years of service to this city,” Felumero said.  

A couple dozen drivers then drove to a nearby mosque and joined the funeral procession to Crown Hill Cemetery.  

Abdukadir Filanwaa drove a taxi in Indianapolis for more than 25 years. Credit: zTrip

At the mosque, the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association honored Filanwaa’s life. The director of the association said Filanwaa moved to America from Somalia for better opportunities.

“He ran away for his safety to just be killed in Indianapolis. It’s very devastating,” said Ahmed Alamine, the imam and director of the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association. 

Alamine said many Muslim immigrants work as taxi drivers in the community to make money for their families. He said this recent death has some concerned for their safety.  

“There is anger in the community, frustration but there is a lot of confusion,” he said. “My phone is flooded by questions of, ‘What can we do now? If I can’t be safe driving and this is my primary source of income, what would be my alternative?’”

Investigators are asking for neighbors and businesses in the area of 11th and New Jersey streets, just south of Interstate 65 between Delaware Street and the North Split, to check their video cameras between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. for activity in the area. 

Anyone with information about this incident should call Det. James Hurt at the IMPD Homicide Office at 317-327-3475 or email him at [email protected]. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 or (TIPS). 


Taxi drivers gathered at zTrip Tuesday to remember Abdukadir Filanwaa. Credit: WTHR Abdukadir Filanwaa drove a taxi in Indianapolis for more than 25 years. Credit: zTrip


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