Rise in drive-by shootings a concern for WA State Patrol
Mar 23, 2023, 5:42 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2023, 10:30 am
There have been a dozen drive-by shootings in King County so far in 2023. That’s about one a week.
“We haven’t found any connection between these shootings. Our job as troopers is to keep the roadway safe,” Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson told The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH.
Rantz asked if police have been able to figure out whether these were targeted shootings.
“We don’t have anything to indicate targeting,” Johnson said. “Some of them could be a road rage type incident where someone feels slighted by another vehicle and, unfortunately, decides that they’re going to use a weapon.”
The latest two incidents happened on Wednesday. One occurred around midnight on northbound I-5 near the 50th Street ramp. The victim was driving a Ford pickup when a white sedan fired one round striking the passenger door.
A second drive-by shooting happened around 10:30 a.m. on southbound 167 near SR-18. A semi-driver was traveling south when a vehicle with no license plates pulled alongside him and fired one round, striking the front of his vehicle. The victim described the suspect driver as a white male wearing a ski mask. The suspected vehicle was a sedan with mismatched paint, black rims, and possibly a black hood.
There were no reported injuries from either shooting.
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There have been six drive-by shootings in March alone.
“Last year, I think detectives investigated around 50,” said Trooper Johnson. “I would love to know the reason. Everyone is different.”
Rantz said Washington’s police pursuit law makes it a lot easier for some people to believe they can get away with these crimes because they know they won’t face a chase.
“The shootings that we’ve had weren’t in the area to even [have the] chance to determine whether to pursue or not,” said Trooper Johnson. “But that’s a real question. Individuals think that they can get away with more stuff and investigate everything to the fullest.”
Johnson told Rantz he did not feel staffing at the State Patrol was an issue.
“We’ve added more troopers, and we have troopers that are filling in spots. From my perspective, we have plenty of troopers at the times and locations these are happening. It’s hard. Even if we had twice as many troopers that were allotted. It’s hard to be obviously everywhere when these occur. However, we would welcome more law enforcement everywhere.”
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