Four More Freeway Shootings; Officials Offer $25,000 Rewards
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Five more motorists were targets of bullets as random freeway gunplay continued in Southern California, and authorities responded by offering rewards and a ″shooters’ profile.″
And authorities reported a ″new twist to the freeway shootings″ when a pilot of a small plane pulled his aircraft alongside a Cessna and pointed a hangun at the other pilot as they flew off the northern San Diego County coastline, said Maj. Hank Polacke at the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro.
The pilot was uninjured and the man who brandished the weapon Tuesday has not been found, authorities said.
″Maybe next time they can do it in rocket ships,″ Polacke said.
On the freeways, none of the motorists or their passengers was injured Tuesday in the incidents, which brought to three dozen the number of shootings, rock-throwings and other attacks in Southern California since June 18.
The violence has left four people dead and 15 injured, and there have been 17 arrests with one case thrown out of court.
The county Board of Supervisors offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in a freeway shooting.
Another outbreak of shootings, four in two weeks, has occurred on Interstate 15 near Lehi, Utah. In the most recent incident, the first involving injury, a bullet shattered a window of a dairy truck and flying glass cut driver Gary D. Graves, police said.
The Southern California cases have been a mix of random snipings and outbursts of temper that have not been centered around one geographical point. Tuesday they ranged from Ventura County 120 miles south to San Diego County.
An enraged driver punched a woman in the face, breaking her glasses, in a confrontation after her car grazed his Tuesday afternoon, said Beverly Hills police Lt. David Griffey.
Witnesses noted the man’s license number, and police arrested Arthur Lottie, 23, of Inglewood about three hours later on an assault charge, Griffey said.
In one of the shootings Tuesday, two windows of a car driven by Anthony Barone were shattered on the Foothill Freeway 20 miles north of downtown, said state trooper Kenn Rosenberg.
Investigators believe the bullet came from a sniper in the hills along the freeway, but no projectile was found, Rosenberg said.
″I don’t understand why anyone would do this,″ Barone said. ″I was in the slow lane minding my own business. I’d heard about the shootings but I never thought this would happen to me. I still don’t believe it.″
A half-hour later in Oxnard, 50 miles northwest of downtown, a car on the Ventura Freeway was fired on by a passing motorist. The windshield was cracked but none of the three people inside was hurt, said trooper Jim Utter. Another car was struck by a bullet in the afternoon on the Golden State Freeway in the Griffith Park area, five miles north of downtown, said trooper Monty Keifer. The motorist told officers the gunshot came from passengers in a car, Keifer said.
In Oceanside, 25 miles north of San Diego, Gary Krajewski, a U.S. Customs agent driving home from work, escaped injury early Tuesday in another apparent roadway shooting, said Oceanside police Officer Phil Dumas. Krajewski heard a loud noise and the passenger-side window of his car shattered.
In the fifth incident, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested a La Puente teen-ager in connection with a 7 p.m. shooting on Interstate 5 near the San Diego Freeway in Irvine. Two bullets struck a door of a car driven by Stephen Broderson, 19, of Camarillo. Neither he nor his passenger was injured.
Broderson provided authorities with a description of the alleged assailant’s pickup truck and a suspect was arrested at about 9:30 p.m., said Irvine Police Lt. Pat Rogers. He was not immediately identified.
Lionel Newland, 23, of Pacoima was arrested Tuesday in connection with a report Sunday that shots were fired on the Golden State Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. Newland was held for investigation of possessing drugs for sale and possession of a loaded and concealed weapon, a handgun, in his vehicle.
So far one case has been thrown out of court.
The county district attorney’s office Tuesday refused to press charges against a 21-year-old Van Nuys man booked Monday for investigation of shooting a motorcyclist on the Hollywood Freeway.
″There was no corroboration of the victim’s story and no independent witnesses,″ district attorney spokesman Al Albergate said.
The California Highway Patrol released a study of the recent highway violence intended to give motorists a profile of the shooters.
It showed 43 percent of the shootings have occurred on weekends and all have been committed by males, half of them alone in their cars when the shootings occurred. Five of the suspects have driven pickup trucks and two were in vans. No pattern has emerged among victims or their vehicles.
Hollywood stunt man Henry Kingi, who was shot and wounded during a traffic confrontation Saturday was reported in fair condition and recovering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.