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Are Freeway Shootings Random Acts Of Violence?

The California Highway Patrol announces plans to form a task force after yet another freeway shooting is reported Monday afternoon.
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The California Highway Patrol is increasing patrols and forming a task force to gather information on at least eight freeway shootings reported in Southern California counties since March. At least 14 shootings have been reported since the beginning of the year. Four of the shooting victims have died of their injuries since March. Timeline:Freeway Shootings

The CHP also may consider acquiring cameras that could read license plates of potential suspects and witnesses on certain stretches of freeway, according to NBC4's Robert Kovacik.

"We are putting as many officers as we have available out there specifically for this problem, but ... we are not everywhere all the time," Wendy Hahn of the CHP said following yesterday's shooting.

Hahn suggested that people keep their eyes open and "be the best witness they possible can."

Kovacik said that most of the shootings are considered "random acts of violence," although CHP investigators said a similar suspect car was described in two recent attacks.

In the shootings reported before Monday's attack, police said the men who were shot did not fit a single profile. Four were African American, one was Filipino, and the rest were Latinos, according to police.

Monday Shooting: (14) Freeway

No one was injured in the latest shooting, when a bullet pierced the windshield of an SUV on the northbound Antelope Valley (14) Freeway in the Newhall Pass at 3:07 p.m. Monday, according to CHP Officer Sheri Jones.

May 2: Bullet Shatters Motorist's Windshield On Freeway

A suspect car in Monday's Newhall Pass attack was described as a lowered black Honda, possibly an Accord -- roughly matching a vehicle seen in an early Sunday morning shooting on the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway near Roscoe Boulevard, authorities said. Sunday's shooting left a 19-year-old man wounded.

Images: 405 Shooting

It wasn't clear what provoked the Newhall Pass attack, Jones said. No other evidence linking the Monday shooting with Sunday's shooting on the San Diego Freeway has been disclosed.

3 Shootings In 3 Days

In another weekend shooting, a 16-year-old driver suffered non-life-threatening wounds Saturday morning on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway near Hollywood Way, police said. The suspect vehicle in that suspected road-rage assault was a white four-door car.

According to Kovacik's report, the CHP says the number of freeway shootings this year actually represents a decrease from the number of shootings seen during the same period in 2004. But four men have been killed and four injured in this year's shootings; in 2004, one fatality was reported. The LAPD said 36 freeway shootings were recorded within city limits in 2004.

Monday's shooting and two non-fatal shootings last weekend were the first incidents of gunfire reported on a freeway in the San Fernando Valley since the latest string of Southland shootings began in mid-March.

A 26-year-old man was fatally shot March 12 on a freeway in Fontana, a 32- year-old man was fatally shot April 22 on a freeway interchange in Riverside County and a 33-year-old motorist was wounded April 24 on the northbound Costa Mesa (55) Freeway in Orange County.

Anyone with more information related to the recent shootings is asked to call (877) 529-3855.

  • April 29, 2005:
  • April 25, 2005:
  • April 25, 2005:
  • April 21, 2005:
  • April 14, 2005:

(Some images are taken from video provided by On Scene Video Productions. For more information, write On Scene Video.)

Images: NBC News Slideshow

Images: Slideshows

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