NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Muslim cab driver who is being charged with attempted homicide after he allegedly tried to run over two college students after a religion dispute stole the cab he was driving and was pocketing the fares, the owner of the cab company told FOX News.
Ibrahim Ahmed, a 37-year-old Sunni Muslim from Somalia, tried to run over two college students near Vanderbilt University early Sunday morning after getting into the argument, police said. Ahmed picked up the two fares — college students visiting Nashville from Ohio — near the Vanderbilt campus, according to the incident report.
Capt. Mike Alexander of the Nashville Police Department said the two men were on their way back to the campus.
It was first believed that Ahmed worked for United Cab Co., but owner Roderick Brown told FOX News on Tuesday that he was not an employee and was fired last year after a high-speed chase with Nashville police.
The cab Ahmed was driving was supposed to be having its transmission fixed. Brown said he believes Ahmed, who teaches English as a second language next door, took the keys hanging inside the cab company. Brown said Ahmed may have made his way into the company from through the classroom suite.
Brown said he believes Ahmed was using the stolen cab and pocketing the fares, and that Ahmed put a stolen license tag on the vehicle. At this point, the company is not sure how long he has been driving the stolen vehicle.
The ordeal began early Sunday after a conversation about religion ensued between Ahmed and his two fares. The local FOX affiliate in Nashville confirmed from a friend and fellow co-worker that Ahmed is a Sunni Muslim from Somalia. One of the men in the cab was Protestant, while the other was Catholic.
At some point, according to the police, the two men exited the cab, and the cabbie also got out. They paid him his fare, and then they exchanged words.
According to the incident report, Ahmed then returned to his cab as the students fled on foot. Ahmed then allegedly drove across a parking lot, jumped a curb and struck the two men.
One of the students, identified as Jeremy Invus, was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with critical injuries. The other passenger, Andrew Nelson, avoided the cab.
Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Rivers told FOX News that Invus is recuperating and does not want to talk to the media about the incident.
Ahmed, charged with assault and attempted homicide, was denied bond Monday. He also was charged with theft because the license plate on his cab was listed as stolen.
"We are working with the police to see what happened," United Cab manager Cherrie Machado said.
FOX news' Sharon Fain, Kip Grosenick and Marianne Silber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.