‘It’s alarming’: WSP investigating 9 freeway shootings in 2024

Washington State Patrol is investigating nine confirmed highway shootings so far in 2024. That’s on top of four other reported shootings that authorities have not been able to substantiate. That’s an average of about two per week.

The latest shootings happened Monday within ten minutes of each other on I-5 around 4:30 p.m., peak rush hour. WSP’s Trooper Rick Johnson said thankfully bullets didn’t hit anyone.

“It’s very dangerous,” said Trooper Johnson. “It’s because you can’t take that round and put it back in your gun and firing on the freeway is very reckless, you don’t know where that’s going to go.”

Those two were the eighth and ninth shootings WSP deputies are investigating this year.

“When you get seven in one month it’s alarming,” said Trooper Johnson. “Any one is alarming to us and now we’re at February 6 and we had two in one day yesterday.”

The first highway shooting of 2024 happened on January 8. 

Monday’s shooting on I-5 SB near 520 is the only shooting with injuries. Although no one was hit with bullets, window glass shattering cut the arm of a person sitting in the passenger seat.

“When I hear about that of course it’s concerning,” Trooper Johnson said.

King County drivers are questioning the uptick in shootings.

“I don’t know if it’s a mental health issue or what,” said driver Michael Dougherty. “Why? Why would it happen?”

We asked Trooper Johnson how they plan to prevent future shootings.

“We use heat maps, where these are most occurring,” he said. “So that’s where we’ll saturate looking for aggressive drivers and being a deterrent and also looking for vehicles that may frequently travel that area that were involved in something like this.”

KIRO 7 asked outside of the saturation patrols, what could be done to stop the shootings as they seem almost random and could happen at any point in time.

“I wish we knew,” said Trooper Johnson.

The next saturation patrol is on Thursday. 

The suspects near the downtown shooting Monday drove a black Chevy SUV. Trooper Johnson said that the SUV may have also been involved in a hit-and-run right after the shooting. 

If anyone has information on any of the shootings this year, give WSP a call.