‘He was a father, brother and son’: Family of murdered Florida cab driver wants justice

COCOA, Fla. (WESH) — The family of a taxi driver who was gunned down during an armed robbery in Cocoa wants the person who killed him brought to justice.

Cocoa police said on Dec. 9 just before 11 p.m., 49-year-old Robert Riness drove his taxi to the corner of Kensington Drive and Donna Avenue to pick up someone.

Police said when he arrived, the suspects shot him in the neck and ran away. Officers found that the taxi, which was a minivan, had crashed through a fence near a house.

Riness died at the scene.

“I was totally stunned – I was just like ‘What?’” Riness’ sister Tracy Baldwin said. “Everybody is just totally stunned. We can’t believe this has happened.”

Baldwin said her brother was killed while doing a job he loved.

“He met all kinds of interesting people, he just liked doing it,” Baldwin said. “Why do you want to kill people just for the heck of it? If you wanted his money he would’ve just gave it to you. If you needed the shirt off his back he would’ve just gave it to you.”

Riness’ mother Patricia Maybee saw her son earlier on the day he was killed. She said police knocked on her door around 2 a.m. to share the devastating news.

“When the police asked me if I had questions, I couldn’t even answer,” Maybee said. “My grandson he cried so hard. It was like his heart was just broken.”

Riness was a father, brother and son. His family will remember him as the family clown, who had a passion for technology and loved to make people smile.

“He was a big jokester all the time,” Baldwin said. “He was always happy-go-lucky.”

Cocoa police confirmed Riness’ murder is the second armed robbery that happened on the same block this past week. Grieving families want answers, but especially justice.

“You think you can do anything you want with no consequences, well there are going to be consequences one way or another,” Baldwin said.

Anyone with information that can help solve the cases is urged to call the Central Florida Crimeline number at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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