This American man has been arrested for stealing a taxi at a Colombian airport before running over a mother and her daughter because he wanted to be deported and he did not have a return flight.
According to preliminary investigations, the 41-year-old United States citizen, identified in reports as John Joseph Gianino, allegedly stole the taxi at Ernesto Cortissoz airport, in the city of Barranquilla, in the northern Colombian department of Atlantico, to have the Colombian authorities deport him.
Local media report Gianino, who had allegedly entered Colombia illegally, is suspected of having stolen the taxi as the driver, Gabino Anaya, was taking a passenger’s luggage out of the bonnet.
The American is suspected of speeding away, with a police officer reportedly opening fire on the vehicle after spotting the robbery. Nobody was injured by the gunshots.
Gianino then allegedly ran over a 31-year-old woman and her four-year-old daughter, whose identities have not been revealed, who were in the area. Both victims had to be taken to hospital but are not said to be in a serious condition.
Some metres after hitting the pair the car was stopped and an angry mob is said to have set upon the driver as police tried to arrest him.
A video shows the driver covering his head as an angry mob tries to pull him out of the car. Onlookers can be heard shouting “take him out, son of a b*tch.”
The American suspect was eventually arrested at the scene and had to be taken to a hospital for treatment to injuries to his face sustained when the mob tried to beat him.
He was discharged a day after the incident and taken to the prosecutor’s office. Reports state the authorities are awaiting test results from forensic medical experts to find out the psychological state of the man and see if he can be charged.
Local media Noticias Caracol report the man had stolen the taxi as he had no return ticket to the United States and he wanted to be deported.
Gabino Anaya, the owner of the taxi and the President of the Association of Taxi Drivers of the airport told reporters: “I got sad because of what happened as the vehicle was left destroyed and it is my work tool. I never imagined that this could happen to me.”
The investigation is ongoing.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.