New Leads in SR-163 Shootings: CHP

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC San Diego
    Detectives search for evidence on April 5, 2011 after an unknown shooter struck a University of San Diego student during her commute on State Route 163.

    Investigators are looking into new leads as they try to track down a suspect in a highway shooting that injured one driver and struck the car of another, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    “We’ve received numerous phone calls on this incident,” said CHP Officer Allen Reyes. “The investigators appreciate those phone calls and are taking each one seriously.”

    The CHP is asking the public to report any suspicious activity witnessed at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday between Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Balboa Avenue.

    SR 163 Shooting Victim Recovering

    [DGO] SR 163 Shooting Victim Recovering
    A 21-year old unidentified woman was shot in the side while driving her car on the 163 Tuesday morning. Brooke Tompkins has been friends with the victim since her high school days at Cathedral Catholic High. Tompkins believes the shooting was random, saying her friend wasn't the type to be in trouble.

    “In the process of this investigation and subsequent to receiving phone calls, investigators have developed and are exploring new leads in hopes to identify the suspect,” said Reyes.

    So far, a suspect has not been identified.

    CHP Shuts Down SR 163 in Shooting Investigation

    [DGO] CHP Shuts Down SR 163 in Shooting Investigation
    CHP Officers walked a section of SR 163 looking for evidence in the shooting of an Escondido woman Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

    “Nonetheless, investigators are working diligently,” said Reyes.  

    A 21-year-old University of San Diego student was traveling on southbound State Route 163 north of Balboa Avenue when an unknown shooter shot her in the abdomen through her vehicle.

    A second victim, a 42-year-old Rancho Bernardo man, then came forward after hearing a loud noise while driving on the southbound SR-163 near State Route 52 at about the same time.

    Investigators confirmed there was a bullet hole in his 2010 Volkswagen Passat's left rear window pane, and they concluded the two incidents to be related, CHP said.

    About 10 shell casings were collected to the side of the highway.

    The shootings have triggered strong but varied reactions in the local community.

    Many have been disturbed by the apparently random nature the cars were struck.

    Sandy Gerald said she has been looking to her left and right while driving -- just to be cautious.

    "It's scary, honestly," Barbara Bergman said. "Seriously, I was just coming down the 15, and I wasn’t really sure whether I should make a right and go down the 163 or go down to the 15 and get off on Friars Road to get where I need to go.”

    Julee Vaughan has stopped using SR-163 because she "can work around it."

    "Now, if it keeps happening, yeah, it'll really start bugging me because I'm on the freeways every day, so I hope not," Vaughan said.

    Reyes said he doesn't discourage feared commuters to choose a different route, but he stressed the shootings do not warrant public panic.

    Some commuters have said they won't let Tuesday's incident sway their daily routine.

    Jim Spotts said the shootings are "not in my mind."

    "My thought is to get to work and get back home and continue on with my life," Spotts said. "No, I’m not gonna let it bother me. I’ve got a life to live and a job to do.”

    Reyes said the investigators are working "diligently" on the case.