I-Team 8

Indiana interstate shootings happen 5 times more in 2021 than in past 2 years

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — So far in 2021, the state has recorded 53 interstate shootings, according to Indiana State Police.

It’s a huge increase compared to just nine interstate shootings in 2018 and 2019.

“It’s a concerning number,” said state police Sgt. John Perrine. “I think we’re seeing an increase in aggressive driving. I don’t know why. I don’t think we can pinpoint one reason for it.”

Just last week, a 16-year-old was on her way to a haunted house when someone shot at her car while on I-465. According to a stay done by AAA in 2019, nearly 80% of drivers expressed “significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days.”

Perrine said, “We’ve all made mistakes. When people start intentionally, criminally driving (and) criminally doing things to try to scare, impede or even contact the other party it’s very dangerous.”

The state police sergeant says some of the 53 interstate shootings so far this year were not related to road rage but were instead targeted shootings. Still, he says, the majority of the interstate shootings were a result of people getting angry while driving. A study done by Everytown For Gun Safety says, so far in 2021, that “a person shot and either injured or killed in a road rage incident every 18 hours on average” nationwide.

Perrine says investigations of interstate shootings can be difficult because crime scenes are “mobile.” He says they rely heavily on witnesses.

“Maybe (witnesses) don’t feel like they can help the case, and I would say they absolutely can help our case with any information that they have, even if they only know the color of the car or what lane the car was in or anything like that is valuable to our investigation.” 

State police have these tips for anyone who sees or is involved in a road rage incident:

  • Remain calm, agitation or counter aggressive maneuvers can escalate the situation.
  • Drive away from the aggressor by using a turn signal to change lanes, allowing the aggressor to pass, exit the highway, stop in a well-lit populated area.
  • If stopped in traffic or in an area where you must stop due to a stop sign or stop light ensure all of your car doors are locked and leave yourself a path of escape.
  • Immediately report the incident to police by calling 911 (Indiana Hands Free Law allows you to use a cell phone while driving to report an emergency to 911).