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‘Could have shot me:’ Lyft driver picked up suspected gunman fleeing crime scene

Issa Amer Ishtawi

CHICAGO, Ill. — A routine pickup for an Indiana Lyft driver took an unexpected and dangerous turn Tuesday, June 4.

The driver, who did not want his name used, picked up Issa Amer Ishtawi, 20 in Portage’s Camelot Manor mobile home park that afternoon.

“I’ve picked him up in the past, and we’ve talked, and there’s never been any kind of, you know, nothing wrong really,” he said.

What he didn’t know was this time was that police said Ishtawi had just opened fire two blocks away, leaving behind bullet holes in homes and narrowly missing an older woman.

“Another subject inside the trailer was laying on the couch, was struck in the foot by one of the rounds,” said Portage Police Chief Troy Williams.

Williams said officers flooded the area just before the suspect’s getaway Lyft arrived.

Ishtawi got in the back.

“I even asked him. I said, ‘Hey, you have any idea why all these police are out here? You heard anything?’ He was like, ‘No man,’” the driver said.

And the Lyft driver slowly pulled away.

“And just kind of drove by slow by the officers, which allowed Officer Howard to see inside the back of the vehicle and could see the suspect,” said Williams.

The officer followed and demanded Ishtawi get out of the Ford Focus. He was arrested, and then authorities found a Glock under the front passenger seat.

“Not that I can really forget about that part, because that’s where my danger came in at,” said the Lyft driver. “He could have pointed at me and said, ‘Hey, keep driving.’ Or, you know, he could have shot me.”

“There was a high potential for danger in this entire call,” said Williams.

“My mom wants me to quit, but I like driving. I like driving for Lyft and Uber,” said the driver.

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