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Outside a Back Bay hotel late Tuesday morning, Phillip I. Foy approached a cab and asked the driver to take him to Mansfield, some 35 miles outside the city.

When the driver, Luckinson Oruma, 60, declined, Foy pulled the father of five from the white cab, stood him over him, and shot him repeatedly as he lay in the street outside the Prudential Center, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

“You’re gonna move this cab or I’m gonna move you,” Foy allegedly told Oruma before pulling him from the cab, according to Suffolk Assistant District Attorney John Verner.

Foy then allegedly opened fire, hitting Oruma nine times. Oruma was pronounced dead a short time later at Tufts Medical Center.

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On Wednesday morning, about a half-dozen of Oruma’s relatives listened in Boston Municipal Court as Verner described the chilling exchange that occurred just prior to the shooting outside the Colonnade Hotel.

Foy, 34, a Springfield native who spent time in jail on drug convictions more than a decade ago, was never brought into the courtroom during his arraignment on charges of murder, armed carjacking, and firearms offenses. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail, his next court date set for July 9.

Colleagues remembered Oruma, who moved to the United States from Nigeria in 2003 and lived in Dorchester, as an affable driver who worked for USA Taxi garage.

“He was a super guy, a very easygoing guy,” Eddie Summers, a manager at the garage, said Wednesday. “Never in a bad mood. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper. . . . Never raised his voice.”

Supporters of the victim, Luckinson Oruma, left the courtroom after the arraignment of Phillip Foy.
Supporters of the victim, Luckinson Oruma, left the courtroom after the arraignment of Phillip Foy. Lane Turner/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Foy walked up to Oruma’s cab on Huntington Avenue after exiting the nearby Massachusetts Avenue MBTA station, the prosecutor said.

Oruma twice refused Foy’s demand for a ride to Mansfield, Verner said. After the second refusal, Verner said, Foy exited the cab and pulled Oruma out of the driver’s seat, allegedly shooting him once. It was just before 11 a.m., on a street bustling with shoppers, workers, and tourists.

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As Oruma lay in the street, Foy continued to fire, Verner said.

Following the shooting, Foy allegedly climbed into the cab and drove a block onto Ring Road. He left the vehicle and threw the firearm, its magazine, and his shoes on the ground, Verner said.

Foy then sat on a table in front of Shaw’s Supermarket as civilians directed Boston police to him. As officers approached, Verner said, Foy grabbed someone and tried to hide behind that person. Police arrested him without a struggle.

Later, Foy gave police “basically a full confession as to what happened,” Verner said.

At the conclusion of Foy’s arraignment, a family member of Oruma’s rose and addressed Judge Richard Sinnott.

“Thank you, your honor, he’s a coward,” the relative said.

The group left the courthouse without commenting, as did several of Foy’s supporters, including his girlfriend.

Foy’s court-appointed lawyer, John Hayes, told the Globe in an e-mail that Foy wanted to enter the courtroom, but he advised his client to stay out of public view so witnesses wouldn’t be “tainted” by seeing him in the media while the investigation’s pending.

Hayes also said he would be filing a motion to suppress Foy’s statements to police.

“Despite the Commonwealth’s statement today, things are not always as simple as they seem at first glance, and I am looking forward to actually seeing and assessing all of the evidence, including his statement,” Hayes wrote in the e-mail.

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Foy most recently lived in Pawtucket, R.I., and was described in court papers as a landscaper for a company called PF Landscaping.

Jorge Santa, one of Foy’s neighbors on Darrow Street in Pawtucket, said he moved there last fall. As recently as Sunday, Foy was pulling weeds in the company of two young children outside Foy’s small white house, Santa said.

He said Foy normally greeted him by saving, “Much love!”

Court records show Foy has spent time in Dorchester and Attleboro, where he was evicted from an apartment in 2017 for failing to pay nearly $22,000 in rent and having a pit bull.

In 2005, he was sentenced to spend a year in jail after pleading guilty to cocaine and marijuana charges in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield, according to records.

Foy has two daughters, ages 7 and 12, records show.

On Wednesday, Oruma’s family gathered at his home and said they did not want to talk to reporters.

Oruma was humble and hard-working, a gentle, family-oriented man who put in 60-hour weeks driving his cab, said those who knew him.

“He’s such a gentleman,” said Godwin Nnanna, president of the Nigerian American Multi-Service Association in Boston. “He works all the long hours, he works so hard take care of his family. He’s a very easygoing person who really doesn’t look for trouble in any way.”

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A GoFundMe page had been set up by fellow taxi drivers and others to support Oruma’s family.

“On Tuesday morning June 4th, 2019 Luckinson Oruma went to work like every other day, only today he was gunned down and car jacked of his taxi cab,” the GoFundMe web page states. “Luckinson was earning a living just like the rest of the world on a daily basis, only at the end of today’s shift, he is not going home to his family.

“Luckinson was a hardworking man who provided for his family and put all 5 of his children through college by driving a taxi,” the page continues. “We here at Independent Taxi Operators Association, as well as his family are devastated by this tragedy.”


Gal Tziperman Lotan, John R. Ellement, and Evan Allen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.