Bay Area freeways average one car-to-car shooting every week, CHP data show

Bay Area freeways have had at least one car-to-car shooting a week for the last two years. (Aug. 17, 2017)

For almost two years now, the San Francisco Bay Area’s freeways have averaged at least one car-to-car shooting a week.

The reasons for some are unknown, some others were the result of road rage, but most, according to the California Highway Patrol, are tied to gangs.

Since Nov. 1, 2015, there have been 100 car-to-car shootings, the most recent occurring Tuesday in Alameda County, CHP officials said.

“The vast majority of these are targeted and many of them are gang-related,” said Officer John Fransen of the CHP’s Golden Gate Division, which is investigating 83 of the 100 shootings. The division covers Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties.


There have been 12 arrests in the 83 shootings the CHP has investigated since Nov. 1, 2015, Fransen said. Six people have been killed, 36 injured.

In the most recent case, someone opened fire on a car with two teenagers inside on northbound Interstate 880 near Jackson Street. The victims suffered only minor injuries and the shooter got away — a common set of circumstances for detectives who have had to chase these cases over the last 21 months, the CHP said.

In one incident in 2016, people in separate cars engaged in a gun battle on State Route 4 in Antioch. In one this year, two people were shot on Interstate 80 near Richmond, forcing authorities to shut down the freeway while a helicopter landed on the highway to airlift the victims to the hospital.

Of the CHP’s 83 freeway shooting investigations, 27 of them occurred on the 80 Freeway, 17 were on Interstate 880, 10 were on Interstate 580, nine were on State Route 4, eight were on U.S. 101 and the rest were scattered among various smaller highways, data show.

No pattern has emerged to predict a time and place for the shootings, Fransen said, but many generally occur at night or around sunset.

In response, cities and public agencies have worked to install additional cameras on the region’s freeways to help identify the attackers.

“We’re going to utilize every bit of tech we have at our disposal to investigate these to the fullest extent,” Fransen said. “The No. 1 way we solve these is through witnesses coming forward and letting us know what they saw.”

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