CHP Updates SR-163 Shootings - NBC 7 San Diego

CHP Updates SR-163 Shootings

Officer tells public not to panic



    CHP Updates SR-163 Shootings
    Mark Leimbach
    The bullet entered the car through the right rear passenger door.

    The California Highway Patrol held a news conference Thursday afternoon, discussing a Tuesday highway shooting that injured one commuter and struck the car of another to awake a strong public reaction.

    CHP officer Allen Reyes narrowed down the specific time in question to 7:15 a.m. and asked the public to report any suspicious activity witnessed at about that time between Clairemont Mesa Boulevard and Balboa Avenue.

    There are no known suspects, and a "myriad" of calls by tipsters are being evaluated for credibility, Reyes said.

    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.

    CHP Updates SR-163 Shootings

    [DGO] CHP Updates SR-163 Shootings
    A California Highway Patrol news conference specified the time at which the shootings took place.
    (Published Thursday, April 7, 2011)

    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 "dilligently" on the case, and the CHP will hold another news conference Friday at 4 p.m.