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I-95 shootings rattle families living near interstate

Posted at 5:54 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 21:31:53-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. — Some neighborhoods in Central Virginia were shaken after five people were shot on area interstates over the last two months.

The most recent shooting occurred on Tuesday night when a driver and passenger were shot near mile marker 55 on Interstate 95 in Colonial Heights.

Gene Beemer was on his back porch in the Dunlop Farms neighborhood when the shooting started.

“It sounded like an automatic weapon. It was just pop, pop, pop, pow, real fast,” Beemer recalled. “I don’t think anybody can pull a trigger that fast.”

The gunshots sounded close.

“If those stray bullets didn’t hit the car or didn’t hit the embankment it could’ve gone through somebody’s house. It could’ve killed an innocent person in the neighborhood,” he said.

Virginia State Police said the driver was able to pull over onto the right shoulder, despite suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound. Troopers said the passenger suffered serious injuries.

Both victims are expected to survive, but the shooter remains on the run.

“It’s concerning to me because we’ve had so many, in the last couple of months, shootings on I-95,” Beemer said.

This is the third reported shooting to happen on I-95 within about a month, based on our previous coverage.

The first involved a woman being shot while driving near mile marker 61 in Chesterfield County on Feb. 25. Officers were able to track down a suspect and he was arrested. The victim told CBS 6 that she was randomly targeted during a road rage incident.

The second shooting happened in March when a pickup truck was hit with gunfire near mile marker 60 of Interstate 95 in Chesterfield. No one was injured.

A man also died on Interstate 85 in Petersburg when police said travelers he picked up at a convenience store shot him and his front-seat passenger on February 3. Officers arrested two suspects in that case.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Dylan Davenport said the public should know they are “aggressively” investigating all of the interstate shootings until there’s a resolution. Detectives are also investigating whether any of the incidents are related.

She could not divulge the motive in the Colonial Heights incident.

Janet Brooking is the executive director for Drive Smart Virginia, a non-profit organization founded on the principle that traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable.

“I think these are troubling times,” Brooking responded. “We have to be conscious of our focus on the roadway.”

While police cannot fault road rage for each of the recent shootings, Brooking shared advice if you find yourself in danger on the road.

“Don’t buy into it, don’t look at them, don’t honk or don't gesture,” she advised. “If you feel the aggressive driver is threatening your safety, you want to pull off in a populated well-lit area and call 911. If you know the area where you’re in, you’ll want to drive to a police station.”

Anyone with information about any of the shootings is asked to call the Virginia State Police at (804) 609-5656 or email them at questions@vsp.virginia.gov