A New Bedford taxi driver who was legally licensed to carry a firearm fought off two attempted robbers early Friday by opening fire with a handgun, fatally wounding one of the attackers, Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III’s office said in a statement.
The name of the driver, who works for Yellow Cab in New Bedford, was not released. But the man killed was identified as Christopher Dunton, 24, of New Bedford.
According to prosecutors, the cabbie picked up two men on Cottage Street in New Bedford, and the two men attacked the driver during the trip. “While in the cab the two males attempted to violently rob the cab driver by placing him in a choke hold and utilizing a knife,’’ Quinn’s office wrote in the statement.
The driver managed to break free and then opened fire on the two suspects, allegedly striking Dunton, prosecutors wrote. “The cab driver was able to escape the cab and fired several shots that struck Mr. Dunton,’’ prosecutors wrote.
Dunton was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford where he was pronounced dead, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, the alleged second robber who fled the cab was arrested on Frederick Street in New Bedford around 12:40 p.m. Friday. Kyle Dawson, 23, was in police custody Friday afternoon.
The driver had an active license to carry a firearm, prosecutors said.
Currently, the taxi driver is not facing any criminal charges, but the “cab driver’s use of force to defend himself is part” of the homicide investigation by prosecutors along with State Police and New Bedford police.
Dunton’s death was the second homicide in New Bedford in two days.
On Thursday Allan A. Monteiro Sr., 47, was fatally stabbed early Thursday inside an apartment on Cottage Street. Police charged James Andrews, 51, with the murder and added a count of failure to register as a sex offender. Andrews is in custody.John R. Ellement and Danny McDonald of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.