‘Drastic increase’ in interstate shootings prompts warning from police, several tied to road rage

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police says they are working to understand what’s behind the increase in interstate shootings.

So far, ISP has investigated 51 interstate shootings in and around Indianapolis this year. That’s compared to just 23 last year.

“Not all of those are road rage resulted,” said Sgt. John Perrine, Indianapolis District. “Some of those are targeted between known parties, but we have seen several road rage incidents result in shots being fired.”

Perrine says these cases are often hard to solve. That’s because the crime scene is usually mobile, leaving police to piece together what happened with traffic still moving along.

In helping solve these cases, Perrine says witnesses play a vital role. Sometimes, he says other drivers tend not to come forward as they feel their information is not important.

“The key to a lot of our investigations, and the success rate of those investigations, relies upon what those witnesses saw and the information that they can provide to us, and they play such vital roles in these cases,” Perrine said.

“It may just be so simple as they know what color the car was, they got one number, or one letter, off of the license plate. They can describe what the weapon looked like, or what the driver looked like. We don’t need a perfect witness. We need somebody who saw something,” he added.

Perrine says ISP continues to increase their presence in these areas and share data with surrounding agencies to understand the trend.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why we’ve seen this increase, but our goal isn’t only to solve all 51 of these shootings that we’ve had this year, but also use this data to find out why it’s happening so we can prevent them,” he said.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Perrine urges you to call 911 immediately, get away from the other party and pull into a well-lit and populated area, or a police or fire station.

Though Indiana does have a Hands-Free Law, Perrine says you can use your phone while driving to call 911.

Lastly, police continue to remind drivers that a split second of anger is not worth a life.

“I’d like everybody to take a step back and realize that as drivers, we have all made mistakes on the roadway at one time or another,” said Perrine, “and as long as it’s just that, a mistake, hopefully we can understand that we’ve been there and forgive somebody for their mistake, but sometimes those mistakes lead into intentional aggressive driving that leads to more anger, that then leads to potential violence, and we strongly discourage anybody from engaging in road rage.”

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