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Up to 6 drive-by shootings of cars since November along California highway

Fatal California freeway shooting causes crash
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Story highlights

  • A man dies after someone drives up alongside his Jeep, shoots him, and his vehicle flips over
  • This is one of several similar incidents since November along a stretch of Interstate 80 in northern California

(CNN)A car speeds along a California highway when someone pulls up, then opens fire.

It happened Saturday morning along Interstate 80 in Richmond, just like it's happened up to five other times since November in the same place.
    California Highway Patrol spokesman Daniel Hill described each of these shootings as targeted, meaning the gunmen likely weren't aiming at just any vehicle and that all drivers shouldn't fear being shot.
    Still, the dangers are obvious not just to those who have been shot or could be shot in the future. No one wants to cruise 65 mph along a highway and have bullets pelt the car next to them, which might slam into them with the driver wounded and possibly incapacitated.
    That's why California authorities are seeking witnesses -- whether they were on Interstate 80 around the time of any of these incidents or know something about the people responsible.
    "We are doing our best to investigate the crimes," Hill said. "But unfortunately, we can only do so much with the evidence on the scene.
    "That's why it's so important for people to come forward."

    Stricken Jeep struck, drifts, flips over

    The most recent incident happened shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, when someone drove up alongside a man riding his Jeep through Richmond, a northern California city about 10 miles north of Oakland and across San Francisco Bay from Marin County.
    Shots rang out from this other vehicle, causing the Jeep to drift along the pavement, fall down an embankment, then flip over several times.
    The Jeep's driver was ejected and pronounced dead by responding firefighters around 1:43 a.m. (4:43 a.m. ET), the California Highway Patrol said in a press release.
    Interstate 80 westbound between Appian and Hilltop was closed for many hours afterward, until finally being reopened around 9:15 a.m.
    The Highway Patrol, or CHP, indicated then that investigators "believe this was a targeted incident," with the victim singled out by the suspect.
    They did not say why. And it's not clear if they even know.

    Shooting 'in the same style,' same location

    Hill, the CHP spokesman, noted the similar incidents -- at least four and as many as six -- in the last few months in the same general area.
    "They all take place around the same time of day (evening and overnight), roughly within the same location three freeway exits in Richmond, and pretty much in the same style," he explained. "Typically the victim is traveling along the freeway, then a suspect pulls up alongside them, fires into the vehicle, then flees."
    No suspects have been caught so far.
    Unlike Saturday, some of the victims "have survived, ... but they're not always cooperative with ... information," Hill said.
    The police spokesman noted that Richmond, a city of over 100,000, has "a lot of drive-by shootings ... that seem to be spilling onto the freeway." Having even a single witness from one of those shootings come forward with details could be pivotal in making sure there aren't even more.
    "We are trying to get the public involved," Hill said. "No matter how insignificant the detail or information they think they have, it may turn the case."