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Family, friends and strangers gather to remember slain cabdriver

Will Sepulveda lights candles Monday night during a vigil for Khalil Jabbour in southeast Albuquerque (Matthew Reisen/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 50 people gathered Monday night for a vigil in remembrance of Khalil Jabbour, the taxi cab driver who was tragically killed less than a week ago.

The mourners, composed of friends, family and even strangers, stretched along the sidewalk at University and Coal SE where the 59-year-old Jabbour was stabbed by Victor Ortiz, 46, late last Thursday.

Will Sepulveda, a fellow cabdriver, lit several candles in front of a large picture of Jabbour.

Although Sepulveda only knew Khalil for two short months, he described the man as “one of the greatest cabdrivers” he ever met.

“He was a really nice guy, very friendly,” he said, adding that many of Khalil’s customers would say the same.

Sepulveda said even other cabdrivers would say Khalil went “beyond” expectation as a cabdriver and Sepulveda looked forward to working the Sunport because “Khalil would always be there.”

“It saddens me, what happened to him, because it shouldn’t have,” he said. “My prayers go out to him, my prayers go out to the family.”

Everyone sang “Amazing Grace,” many holding candles, with yellow ribbons around their wrists and tears running down their faces.

Khalil’s brother, Sami Jabbour thanked everyone for gathering to remember Khalil.

“He had such love,” he said. “God bless his soul, I will miss him.”

Heather Abi-Khalil was neighbors with the Jabbour family for over 15 years and said she knew Khalil well.

“I didn’t realize this many people that we didn’t know would show up,” she said, calling the large gathering “amazing.”

Abi-Khalil described Jabbour as an “amazing human being” and she will never forget, of all things, the man’s laugh.

“His laugh was infectious,” she said. “He was happy all the time.”