Cabbie found slain was ‘one of our greatest friends’ in Somali community
Somalis in Chicago knew they could count on Ismail Abdulle.
Abdulle, a 54-year-old cabdriver, took younger workers under his wing, helped members of the community when they needed a hand, and supported his family back in Africa and would visit them regularly.
“He’s not the type of person who would say, ‘I’m busy, I’m in the airport, I’m this and that,’ ” said Feysal Mohamed, an imam with the East African Community Center in Chicago. “He’s the kind of person who would say, ‘I’m going to help.’ ”
Over the weekend, Abdulle was robbed in Chicago and later found dead Sunday in a vehicle in Blue Island, officials said. The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled Abdulle’s death a homicide, saying he died of multiple injuries from an assault.
It’s unclear whether the robbery and death are related, but a niece said the family believes they are. “I just think he was in a bad place at the wrong time,” Linda Abdulle said.
Police have not commented.
Abdulle’s wife and children are in Africa, family and friends said.
Abdullahi Abdulle, 31, said he used to live in the same Rogers Park building near Loyola University Chicago as Ismail Abdulle. The two shared a cab.
The older Abdulle would advise the younger to follow the law in this country, go back to school and not drive a taxi forever.
“He used to treat me like a father, as a brother, as a good friend, everything,” Abdullahi Abdulle said.
With Ismail Abdulle’s death, Somalis lost “one of our greatest friends in the community,” he added.
Abdiladif Hussein, 33, had a similar experience with Ismail Abdulle. He said he first met Abdulle at the airport in the taxi holding area, where they became friends despite their age difference.
Hussein, who is originally from Kenya, was in his early 20s then and described himself as a “young boy” who “needed guidance.”
Abdulle took Hussein under his wing and advised him to “work hard and work out.”
“He meant, this job is draining, it causes a lot of stress, it takes a lot of your time,” Hussein said.