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Mpls. Cab Driver Talks Surviving Nightmare Carjacking

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis cab driver says he thought he was going to die after a man carjacked him.

 

Sherman Ismael picked up a man in Minneapolis around 5 a.m. Thursday, but the man pulled a gun on Ismael, threatened to kill him, and eventually kicked him out before stealing his taxi.

 

About 40 minutes later, police were able to catch up with Jason Barsness, 28, near Forest Lake.

 

Several officers shot at Barsness after he pulled a gun on them. He died on the scene.

 

Ismael said that his wife and two young boys don’t want to let him out of their sight after that incident.

 

The family is traumatized and Ismael says he no longer wants to be a cab driver.

 

He told WCCO-TV, step by step, what happened inside his Red and White Taxi.

 

Ismael’s nightmare began at the intersection of Franklin and Nicollet in Minneapolis. That’s where Barsness flagged him down and asked for a ride to Brooklyn Park, but the address Barsness gave him didn’t exist, so Sherman started asking questions.

 

“Show me the cash. I asked him to show me the cash. He went into his wallet — no money at all,” said Ismael.

 

When Ismael asked for a credit card, that’s when he says Barsness pulled out a gun, pointed it at his head, and threatened to kill him. So Ismael began to plead for his life.

 

“Everytime I am speaking to him I am telling him to calm down. Please don’t do anything. You are a very young guy. Don’t do anything. Calm down, calm down,” recalled Ismael.

 

But at the same time, Ismael started to drive erratically on purpose, hoping to catch the attention of other drivers. Eventually he stopped in the middle of the Lowry Tunnel. Barsness told him to get out, and Ismael rolled out of his cab and crawled to a Highway Helper who had stopped nearby.

 

Ismael later found out that Barsness was shot and killed after pointing a gun at police. He feels bad for what happened, and for the man who may end up being his last passenger.

 

“I’m feeling very bad. I feel very, very bad. I don’t like to remember. I don’t like to remember this very bad situation. Very, very bad situation.”

 

Police say after Barsness stole the cab, he led them on a high-speed chase that reached over 100 miles an hour at times.

 

Five law enforcement officers remain on administrative leave because of the shooting, which is standard procedure in a case like this one.

 

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