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Reward doubled in highway shootings probe

$20,000 now offered for tips leading to arrest, indictment

Deputy Sheriff Steve Martin called for the public's help in arresting the shooter.
Deputy Sheriff Steve Martin called for the public's help in arresting the shooter.

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CNN's Martin Savidge has the latest on the string of shootings along a Columbus, Ohio, freeway. (December 6)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- Local businesses doubled the reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of whoever is behind 14 shootings in the Columbus, Ohio, area, a law enforcement official said Sunday.

The pledges of Columbus-area businesses boosted the reward from $10,000 to $20,000, Franklin County Deputy Sheriff Steve Martin told reporters.

As of Sunday, a tip line set up by the department had received more than 1,250 leads, and Martin called for more.

"No tip is too insignificant," he said.

Among the 14 incidents was the fatal shooting November 25 of Gail Knisley, 62, as she rode in a car on Interstate 270, east of highway 204.

The shootings are considered linked by location and circumstances.

The investigation intensified Saturday as authorities closed part of the interstate that circles Columbus and interviewed hundreds of residents.

About 40 law enforcement authorities interviewed people in 840 residences in a neighborhood near the site of some of the shootings, Martin said.

The neighborhood is near Hamilton Township Central Elementary School, where a bullet shot through a window of the empty school early November 11. The bullet has been matched to five other bullets from the string of shootings.

Authorities theorize that the shooter or shooters are familiar with the area near the school, which is in the village of Obetz, population 4,000, just inside I-270 on Columbus' south side.

"Whether the person or persons responsible live, work or visit friends or relatives in this particular area remains unknown at this time," Martin said.

"What is clear is that there exists a certain level of comfort experienced by this shooter or shooters in this part neighborhood. Information is being gathered for potential lead value."

Saturday night, the state Department of Transportation closed more than 20 miles of I-270 for 2-1/2 hours so investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms could use laser technology to measure the trajectory of bullets fired in the shootings.

"Investigators were able to conduct the necessary measurements and analysis that we believe will aid in the resolution of these shooting incidents," Martin said.

He reiterated his plea to whoever is responsible for the shootings to contact police. "We continue to want to communicate with you," he said.

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