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Suspect's Description Released Following Sunday Shootings

CONTINUING COVERAGE: For the first time, the task force investigating a series of shootings Sunday released a description of the person believed to be the suspect after two vehicles were fired upon hours earlier. Get the latest.

For the first time, the task force investigating a series of shootings Sunday released a description of the person believed to be the suspect after two vehicles were fired upon hours earlier.

Two vehicles were struck within minutes from separate overpasses late Sunday morning along Interstate 71 in Fayette County.

Both incidents were reported around 11:20 a.m. just north of Jeffersonville, Ohio. Two vehicles, a white Chrysler station wagon and a brown Mercedes, were struck in the hood. No one was injured in either shooting, Franklin County Sheriff's Office Chief Steve Martin said.

SLIDESHOW: Sunday's I-71 Incidents

According to Martin, witnesses spotted a white man with a handgun. He was believed to be 30-40 years old. The man, who was believed to be driving a small, dark-colored vehicle, allegedly fired shots from the Brock Road overpass and then went to the Prairie Road overpass.

"We have witnesses that saw (the shooter)," Martin said. "Can they make an eyeball description on him? Probably not. But at least he's been seen."

Martin said that evidence recovered at the scene was consistent with previous shooting scenes.

He stopped short of linking the two shootings to the serial gunfire. However, he said Sunday's shootings seemed consistent with the serial shootings, based on initial evidence.

The evidence recovered Sunday was taken to the Columbus police crime lab for examination. More findings were to be released at a news briefing scheduled for Monday afternoon.

According to Martin, a white Chrysler minivan traveling northbound along I-71, was shot near mile marker 71, near the Brock Road overpass. Four women were traveling in the minivan, NewsChannel 4 reported.

The second shooting involved a brown-colored Mercedes traveling north on I-71 at the Prairie Road overpass.

Officers later took into custody two juveniles with a pellet gun after they were stopped in a car matching the description given by a victim, the State Highway Patrol said. The two were being questioned but Patrol Lt. Rick Fambro told NewsChannel 4 that the pellet gun was not used in the shootings and the juveniles were in the "wrong place at the wrong time."

Martin said that Fayette County authorities told him it was a "very short jump" for the shooter to have traveled from one overpass to another within minutes.

Stay with NewsChannel 4 and nbc4columbus.com for more information.

Eighth Shooting Linked Ballistically

An eighth shooting was linked by ballistic evidence Friday to the series of shootings around the city's south side, according to the serial shooting task force.

The shooting occurred at about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, Franklin County sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Martin said. It was the 21st linked to the serial shootings, and the eighth linked by ballistic evidence.

The driver of a van, John Caito of Bridgeville, Pa., was heading north on Interstate 71 near state Route 56 in Madison County. The driver said he noticed that something hit his windshield on the driver's side. He thought it was a rock, so he continued driving home to Pennsylvania.

Caito then examined the windshield when he got home and contacted South Fayette Township police, who discovered a bullet fragment in the car's dashboard. Pennsylvania State police took the bullet out of the van, and it was transported to the serial shooting crime lab.

"We believe it came from an overpass," Martin said.

The driver said he did not see anything at the time of the shooting.

The bullet was positively linked by ballistic evidence to the one that killed Gail Knisley on Nov. 25 on Interstate 270. The incident is the eighth linked to the same type of bullet.

Tuesday's incident was the southernmost incident the serial shooting task force has investigated.

911 Calls Dismissed

Martin also said Friday that all 911 calls from people claiming to be the serial shooter have been determined to be hoaxes.

That includes the calls that were made 10 days ago during which the dispatcher dismissed the caller, saying that he was only trying to get attention.

Radio Threat Reportedly Heard

Martin also said that the Franklin County Sheriff's Office received information Friday of a threat reportedly made via a citizens band radio.

At about 9:09 a.m., a person traveling on Interstate 71 near mile marker 52 said he heard an unknown male on the CB radio say that he was the sniper and that he was going to kill someone.

The sheriff's office sent an advisory to area law enforcement to notify them about the message. There was no indication that the message heard was from the shooter, Martin said.

A reward for information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the shooter or shooters responsible for Knisley's death stands at $60,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call (614) 462-4646.

Watch NewsChannel 4 and refresh nbc4columbus.com for continuing coverage.

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