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Police link two freeway shootings in Ohio

Woman killed this week is first injured in 10 incidents

One person has died in the shootings on or near I-270, which began May 10.
One person has died in the shootings on or near I-270, which began May 10.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- Details about the possible personality of the person shooting at motorists around Columbus were released by authorities Friday in the hope that the public will help them catch whoever shot and killed a woman this week.

Chief Deputy Steve Martin of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office also appealed to the person or people responsible for the recent string of shootings to contact authorities.

"We desire to open dialogue with you. Please contact the tip line [at] 614-462-4646 so arrangements can be made so we can establish communications with you," Martin said.

Martin issued the plea shortly after announcing that this week's shooting death of Gail Knisley, 62, as she was riding in a car about 10 miles south of downtown Columbus was linked to at least one of nine other highway shootings that began more than six months ago in the same vicinity.

"Today, based on ballistic results, we're able to say at least one other reported case has been positively linked to Mrs. Knisley's death, and investigators cannot eliminate the possibility that several other reported cases are related as well," Martin said.

"Because of these findings, it's clear that the shooting incident which resulted in the death of Mrs. Knisley was not a single or accidental act of violence."

Knisley was shot and killed by a single bullet fired Tuesday morning into her car on Interstate 270. The bullet came through the left-front door and passed by the driver before hitting Knisley.

Gail Knisley
Gail Knisley

No one has been injured in any of the other shootings, which began May 10. All of the vehicles were traveling on I-270 or nearby roads.

Martin said investigators believe the shooter or shooters may live, work or often drive nearby because whoever is responsible appears comfortable in the area.

Martin asked anyone with knowledge of any of the shootings to contact his office.

"No piece of information, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear, should go unreported."

He asked people to call if they notice certain personality changes in friends, neighbors or coworkers.

The changes may include a change of normal routine in the day or two after a shooting, such as missing work or making an unscheduled trip out of town. Martin also said the person may appear anxious, nervous or irritable, and may withdraw from regular activities.

He also said he or she may have trouble sleeping, increase alcohol intake, or gain or lose weight.

"The person or persons may show an intense interest in the status of the investigation. This may include discussing the shooting with others, saving newspaper articles or taping television or news segments about the shooting," Martin said.

He also asked the public to watch for anyone who changes his or her appearance by adding or removing facial hair, or changing hair color or style.

Martin cautioned that such changes alone do not prove guilt.

Chief Deputy Steve Martin of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department says no information should go unreported.
Chief Deputy Steve Martin of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department says no information should go unreported.

"One or more persons that would exhibit this type of behavior is not alone indicative of one's involvement in a crime. These behavioral characteristics or changes are being changed so the public may be sensitive to them and may bring information to us," he said.

So far, he said, the task force investigating the shootings has received more than 150 tips.

He also noted that shotgun deer-hunting season begins Monday in the area. He appealed to hunters to report anything suspicious and to the news media to explain why more gunshots than usual might be heard next week.

Martin said he is not using the term "sniper" to describe the shooter.

"We felt that the terminology 'sniper' -- that that refers to a military person" who is dressed in camouflage and is shooting at long range, he said.


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