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People step in to help slain cabbie's family ; Memorial service will be Monday for man who was fatally shot in his taxi

By Jim Schoettler
Proquest LLC

An untold number of Jacksonville cabbies and other Good Samaritans have stepped up online to help Stuart Carson's family pay for the slain cabbie's funeral and related expenses. A second avenue for the not-so-tech savvy was opened Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly $6,000 had been raised from about 100 donors on the gofundme.com website set up Sunday for Carson's family, which struggles financially and has no insurance. The specific website is www.gofundme.com/a1fxw8.

Kelly Carson, Carson's wife and mother of his three youngest children, said she has been overwhelmed by the support from donors and people who have stopped her in public to offer their condolences and help. She said she could not have paid for her husband's funeral otherwise.

A public memorial service will be Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Beaches Chapel by Hardage-Giddens, 1701 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach.

"We are very, very grateful for everybody helping us out," Carson said. "Even if it was only $5, it makes us feel really good that there are still really good people out there."

Several people without access to a computer called the Times- Union seeking to donate after the online fund information was provided on Jacksonville.com and the newspaper Tuesday.

The family on Wednesday set up a regular mail route. Donations can be sent to Carson's sister, Lori Gilkinson, c/o Dockside Gameroom, 2775 Mayport Road #10, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233. Kelly Carson asked that those donations/checks be made payable to Gilkinson with a notation elsewhere that the funds are for the Carson family.

The online support began the day after Carson, 43, was found robbed and shot to death in his cab in Brentwood.

Carson died after driving his last fare of the night from Mayport into one of Jacksonville's more violent neighborhoods. Though he told his wife by phone he was reluctant to make the drive, she said they needed the ballpark $50 fare to help pay bills. No arrests have been reported.

Many of the online donations, ranging from $5 to two $500 offerings, are anonymous. But several donors identified themselves as fellow cabdrivers.

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John Zimmerman wrote that he had been robbed and shot two years ago, but gave no other details.

"I pray they catch who did this," said Zimmerman, who donated $20. "Keep ur [sic] guard up, fellow drivers. Let's help this family out."

Cabbie Jeanie Mitchell donated $15.

"As a fellow cab driver, I live with certain fear and I live for my family just as much," Mitchell wrote. "May his family find peace and closure to this horrific act of greed and violence. No one should have to live and work in fear for their lives."

The Carson family is planning to join the MAD DADS victim's rights group for a candlelight vigil and walk Friday at 6:15 p.m. in the 500 block of West 27th Street, where Carson was killed. Aj Jordan, the group's vice president, said the public is welcome to help pass out fliers seeking tips for police about the unsolved slaying.

"Some individual that doesn't respect life took his for no apparent reason," Jordan said. "He was just a hard-working man. We feel like the community does know something."Jim Schoettler: (904) 359-4385POLICE NEED TIPSAnyone with information about the slaying should contact the Sheriff's Office at (904) 630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org or First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 or rewards@fccrimestoppers.com.

Copyright:(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
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