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Police see gun violence trending up on central Indiana highways

Gun violence on Indianapolis highways trending up

INDIANAPOLIS — An alarming trend is terrorizing highways in central Indiana.

Indiana State Police has seen a 633% increase in the number of yearly shootings on highways in and around Indianapolis since 2018.

The most recent shooting happened on a stretch of I-465 on Sunday.

State police Sgt. John Perrine said, “It’s certainly an alarming trend. We’ve seen a significant increase over the last five years.”

Here are Indiana State Police shooting investigations by year for Marion County and the surrounding counties of Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson and Shelby:

  • 2018: nine.
  • 2019: nine.
  • 2020: 23.
  • 2021: 65.
  • 2022: 66.
  • 2023, through Aug. 27: 39.

So, what’s the most challenging part about investigating these types of shootings?

Perrine said, “First, you have a mobile crime scene. Oftentimes, both of these vehicles are moving when the crime occurs, so the crime scene obviously becomes spread over from where the event happened to where the cars, or car, stops, and then getting enough information about the suspect’s or suspects’ vehicle to go ahead and follow those leads to make an arrest.”

The root cause of the shootings has changed since 2018.

“Early on when our number of shootings were low, we believe a vast majority of those were targeted shootings, parties that knew one another. But now, we’re seeing the trend of the vast majority of our shootings are the result of road rage encounters,” the sergeant said.

State troopers are investigating Sunday night’s shooting as a possible road rage incident.

Perrine said, “Do not engage in any type of road rage. Whether you’re the aggressor or the victim, it takes to two people to make road rage.”

One thing that escalates a road rage situation is how people use their horn. Perrine said, “A horn is there for an emergency situation to let somebody know that you’re there to bring attention to yourself, but when people use their horn in an aggressive angry manor and oftentimes follow that horn with some words or some hand gestures, that leads to the violence that we’re seeing.”

Investigators say the person shot Sunday on I-465 is expected to live and make a full recovery, but they need help to find the person who opened fire around 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

Perrine said, “A lot of vehicles now are equipped with dash cameras, and so maybe the people were in the area driving, didn’t realize that they passed the suspect or the victim, but maybe their dash camera holds some valuable information for us, so that footage could be useful for us as well.”