At least 10 shootings have taken place on Interstate 20 in Atlanta since the start of the year, posing an increased risk to passengers and contributing to the growing number of shootings in the city.
An Atlanta Police Department spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek that the 10 shootings are under investigation and that “detectives see no indication that they are related”.
“Obviously, these types of shootings are of great concern to the police department. Not only do you have the two vehicles involved in the shooting, but you also have several people driving on the freeway,” a spokesperson said. of the department at 11 Alive in Atlanta. . “There could also be victims in these types of crimes.”
In the most recent incident, Atlanta Police responded at around 2:50 a.m. on Friday to a report of a person shot dead on 1-20W near Langhorn Drive, where they found an injured 29-year-old man. Gunshot.
“Victim told police he was driving on the freeway when a red vehicle pulled up and someone inside shot him,” according to an Atlanta Police press release. .
The man who was shot, Andre Blair, said the suspect’s vehicle continued to roll and Blair stopped to call 911. Blair was taken to hospital in stable condition.
Blair’s is the 10th highway shooting incident in just nine weeks. According to 11 Alive, the first occurred on January 4, when police found a man with a gunshot wound to the head along 1-20 near Capitol Avenue.
The other shootings resulted in several deaths and in more than one case victims reported that suspects had climbed next to them and fired in their vehicles. In one case, Atlanta rapper Cyhi the Prynce reported that he was chased and shot while driving from February 1-20.
Local authorities have responded to an increase in shootings in the region since the start of the year. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that after a deadly 2020, homicides in Atlanta were up 60% from the same time last year. Atlanta Police have investigated at least 32 homicides since the start of 2021, 20 more than the number reported in the first three months of last year. And the city is just weeks away from a mass shooting at local massage parlors that killed eight people.
“It’s everyday. It’s horrible, ”Sgt. Ashley Henson, spokesperson for the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, told the Journal-Constitution.
In her state of the city address Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called gun violence in the city a “public health emergency” and said she would hire 250 new police officers to curb the rise of violence in Atlanta.
“It’s hard work, and it won’t be easy, but we are up to the task and it will take all of us as a community working together to make a difference,” Bottoms said.
Newsweek requested comment from Bottoms’ office but had not received a response at the time of posting.