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Authorities link two Ohio shootings to 21 others

Sheriff's deputy: Tips may lead to break in case

A deputy sheriff's car is parked Monday on an I-71 overpass near one of the shooting sites.
A deputy sheriff's car is parked Monday on an I-71 overpass near one of the shooting sites.

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A van and a car were shot on an interstate minutes apart in a case resembling a series of sniper shootings along an Ohio highway.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- Authorities announced Monday that two weekend shootings have been linked to 21 others southwest of Columbus since May, including one that was fatal.

Franklin County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Martin also said the highway shooter is becoming more brazen, with the two weekend shootings occurring minutes apart in broad daylight.

No one was injured in either of Sunday's shootings, which happened at two interstate overpasses about a mile from each other around 11:20 a.m. ET, Martin said. In each case, a bullet struck the driver's-side hood of vehicles traveling northbound on Interstate 71 southwest of Columbus.

Martin urged the public to call a tip hot line with any information or to report anything that seems strange. He said tips may be key to solving the highway shootings, which he called a "new phenomenon" for law enforcement.

"Unlike a serial murderer, for example, where that individual would particularly target a particular type of victim -- we don't have this," he said.

"We're all over the page on this thing. We have everything that's shot from a semitruck to a minivan. And we do not think there is a pattern. We think this is random, a target of opportunity."

He said especially in rural areas where people would know their neighbors, residents should call if they see someone who doesn't belong or someone who is parked on an overpass.

"If they think it's suspicious, it is suspicious. And they need to make the call," Martin said.

He also urged the shooter to contact authorities.

"We would like to be able to talk to him, and we're asking him to call us."

Martin said several witnesses to the shootings had given a general description. One witness, a passenger in one of cars that was attacked, also said the shooter held a handgun as he stood on the overpass bridge and fired down at the vehicle.

The shootings took place on two different bridges over Interstate 71 in Fayette County, about 35 miles from the intersection of Interstate 71 and Interstate 270, the Columbus beltway. The locations are farther south than any previous shootings.

Since May, there have been 23 shootings on or near the southwest corridor of Interstate 270, which circles Columbus. A woman was killed November 25 when she was shot as she rode in a car on that highway. No other injuries have been reported.

There is a $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of whoever is responsible.

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