Lyft Driver Robbed at Gunpoint and Pistol-Whipped in Attempted Carjacking

A Lyft driver has been robbed at gunpoint and pistol-whipped at a gas station in South El Monte, California, with the incident was caught on camera.

Paul Liao, aged 67, is a Lyft and Uber driver. On Tuesday, he was robbed at gunpoint of his cell phone and $1,560 in cash, in an attempted carjacking.

A video of the incident sees the unidentified suspect in the back of Liao's car taking his phone and trying to take something from his hands. During the attack, the suspect hit Liao in the face with a gun twice.

This Lyft driver was robbed at gunpoint in South El Monte, CA...pic.twitter.com/HxNo4sZOyJ

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) May 14, 2021

According to an Instagram post by Jackfroot, an online news company dedicated to Asian American culture, Liao was targeted at the gas station after refueling and washing his car.

Liao reportedly parked in the gas station's parking lot and forgot to lock his doors. The suspect entered the back seat of the car and, while holding a gun up, demanded that Liao handed over his wallet.

After taking the money, the suspect asked Liao to get out of the car. Liao lied to the suspect and said that only the owner of the car could drive it, and the suspect apparently believed him but hit him with the gun in response, fracturing his nose.

The suspect is on the loose and police are investigating the case as a possible hate crime. Anyone with any information related to the case is urged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The video has been viewed nearly 600,000 times on Twitter and more than 100,000 times on Instagram.

On Twitter, Lyft responded to the incident and said: "Driver safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident shown here is heartbreaking to watch. We are in touch with the driver's family to offer our support and stand ready to assist law enforcement however we can."

Following the attack, Liao's daughter-in-law set up a GoFundMe to recover the money he lost, and to pay for a new cell phone and medical expenses.

Despite setting a goal of $3,000, the GoFundMe has raised more than $13,000. Those who have donated to the GoFundMe have also expressed their disgust at the attack and have shared messages of support for Liao.

Trent Williamson said: "A good man just trying to make a living and be a good father," while Saskia Steltman commented: "Heartbreaking! Hoping for justice for this hardworking man!"

Newsweek has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for comment.

Driver holding a steering wheel
A stock image of a driver holding a steering wheel. A Lyft driver was robbed at gunpoint in an attempted carjacking. Zephyr18/Getty