WSP investigating 17 road rage shootings after Federal Way incident

Apr 29, 2024, 5:04 PM

road rage shooting...

A WSP vehicle responding to a crime scene. (Photo courtesy of WSP)

(Photo courtesy of WSP)

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) reported it is now investigating 17 road rage shootings that have occurred this year.

One of those shootings was Friday night in Federal Way.

Federal Way Police Department officers found a person shot in the face on Gateway Center Boulevard.

According to KIRO 7, the shooting happened in a parking lot near a Red Robin. The man was shot in the cheek and was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

Officers said the shooting was related to a road rage argument on Interstate 5 (I-5).

The person is expected to survive, but police are still looking for the shooter.

SR 167 driver shot at after both drivers throw drinks

Friday’s incident comes on the heels of a driver on State Route 167 (SR 167) firing at a driver next to him after an argument, the WSP reported last month.

Past coverage: Road rage on SR167 ends in gunfire, troopers search for suspect

The driver who was shot at told troopers that a man in a Jeep tried to pass and then got stuck in traffic. When the two drivers reached the intersection, the driver of the Jeep allegedly threw a fast food drink at the other driver, who then threw a water bottle back at the Jeep.

The driver of the Jeep then allegedly pulled up next to the other driver and fired a single shot. The driver who was shot at then called 911. When officers arrived, they found the bullet lodged in the wheel well of their car.

WSP said that was the 16th shooting. That comes after there were at least 53 such road rage shootings on King County highways in 2023, the agency reported.

Number of road rage shootings increasing

In 2023, KOMO News, citing WSP statistics, wrote that road rage shootings had dramatically increased, nearly tripling, since 2018.

WSP reported 465 road rage shootings across Washington in 2018. However, by 2020 there were 807 road rage shootings, and in 2022 there were 1,058 road rage shootings.

Troopers also found that more weapons were being taken out during road rage disputes.

Trooper Rick Johnson, who is the WSP public information officer for King County, told KOMO the COVID-19 pandemic was a major reason for the uptick as locals got used to having no traffic on the roads. Drivers have since had to acclimate back to pre-pandemic times, which adds tension.

However, as Johnson said, even if you’re frustrated, you never know what someone is capable of and the risk isn’t worth it.

“If you see an aggressive driver it’s not up to you to show them they shouldn’t be driving aggressively because you’re engaging and once you’re engaged you don’t know what that other person is capable of,” Johnson said.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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WSP investigating 17 road rage shootings after Federal Way incident