Washington State Patrol seeing increase in drive by shootings on freeways

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WSP sees increase in drive-by shootings on freeways

An alarming trend of shootings are unfolding on our freeways. Washington State Patrol says about a dozen drive-by shootings have happened this year in King County alone.

An alarming trend of shootings is unfolding on the freeways in King County and across the region.

So far in 2023, Washington State Patrol responded to 12 drive by shootings in King County, with six cases in the month of March.

There were three drive by shootings the week of March 19 alone. One of them happened Sunday on State Route 520; the driver was hospitalized after a bullet when through his backseat. WSP troopers said there are more cases of road rage where aggressive drivers are pulling the trigger behind the wheel.

READ: WSP: Uber passenger injured in drive-by shooting near Bellevue

"People seem to lose their temper quite easily," said Trooper Robert Reyer with WSP Pierce and Thurston counties. "It’s definitely very concerning for all of us to see how lightly people seem to just brandish handguns and just fire shots at other people out in traffic."

Reyer said the shootings are happening outside of King County as well. WSP is looking for the suspect from a drive by Monday in Fife on I-5 southbound near the 54th Avenue East ramp. The suspected car was a teal-colored BMW older model SUV with no license plates. Reyer said the gunman shot once, barely missing the other driver in a pickup truck who was too startled to get details of the suspected car.

READ: WSP seeks suspect in Fife drive-by shooting on I-5

"When somebody gets involved in a situation like that where they get shot at, the last thing that they think of in that moment is to grab their cellphone and take a photo or video of that vehicle," said Reyer.

Troopers asked the public to help be their eyes and ears so investigators could track down the dangerous drivers. 

ILWU 19, the local longshore union, offered a $5,000 reward to catch and convict the gunman from a drive by on March 15 on I-5 near Kent. Union members said one of their own was on his way to work when he was shot. The gunfire hit him in the neck, according to a GoFundMe account created by the man’s relatives.

RELATED: Driver shot in the face on I-5 in Kent; troopers search for suspect

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"He’s got a long road to go. This was a life altering injury," said Tim Clifford, a union member and colleague. "We’re all worried about him. We have our motto—and injury to one is an injury to all, and it’s a time like this that rings the most true."

Signs of aggressive driving include high speeds, cutting drivers off, slamming the brakes and of course brandishing a gun. To anyone who sees this behavior, WSP said don’t interact, just call 911 before things escalate. Get as many descriptive details as safely as possible of the suspect car and driver and report it to the authorities.