'I think this was absurd'; Drivers react to string of interstate shootings in Hampton Roads

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 18:19:49-04

NORFOLK, Va. - People in Hampton Roads are speaking out about an ongoing problem in the area: shootings on local interstates and highways.

News 3 has been keeping track of shootings on Hampton Roads interstates and highways since November.

Since June 1st, seven shootings have taken place on interstates and highways in southeast Virginia. At least three of these shootings involved someone firing from one car towards another car.

The latest one took place Saturday afternoon on I-264 eastbound near Military Highway in Norfolk.

Many are concerned as no arrests have been made in any of the case, and Virginia State Police (VSP) continue looking into these incidents.

News 3 also talked with Sam Pinckney, who drove past the scene where Saturday’s shooting took place on I-264.

“I think this was absurd,” Pinckney said. “I saw a red Acura, and it had a bullet hole in the back driver’s side window.”

VSP said the driver was shot at from someone in an unknown vehicle and suffered serious, life-threatening injuries.

“It just kind of made me angry because there’s too much violence going on out here,” Pinckney said. “People out here are going crazy and need to stop this madness.”

News 3 also obtained information from VSP on how many reported interstate shootings troopers responded to statewide.

From January 1 through July 13, 2022, VSP responded to 34 reported interstate shootings around Virginia.

In 2021, VSP responded to 74 interstate shootings. That number is up from 52 interstate shootings statewide in 2020.

“It’s very dangerous,” News 3 crime analyst and retired law enforcement officer Rick James said. “Once you shoot that weapon, the bullet doesn’t have a name on it.”

James said shootings on interstates and highways present challenges for police and anyone driving on the road.

“If you’re driving down the interstate, at interstate speeds, the last thing you want to do is distract yourself and try and find some piece of paper and take down a license plate number,” he said. “That can be dangerous too, unless you have someone in a vehicle that can get that information for you.”

This is why he recommends having certain tools in your vehicle, including a dash camera.

“Dash cameras remind me of insurance. You don’t need it until you need it,” James said. “The dash camera can actually videotape someone that’s driving aggressively, or if you get involved in an accident, and it’ll be some type of identification of the facts. Now, with the dash camera, some of them can give you the date, time and location of where the incident occurred.”

Pinckney said the tool was very important on Saturday, and whenever he's on the road.

“There’s just so much stuff going on out here, you never know what might happen,” Pinckney said.

Meanwhile, James said if you're on the road, the odds of you being involved in a shooting on an interstate are “very slim.”

READ: Driving experts emphasize tips to avoid road rage after interstate shootings

“Take your time, leave early if you have to, drive defensively,” James said. “It’s better to get to where you’re going safely than not get there at all.”

What’s also important to remember, along with being a defensive driver, is knowing you can call 911 for any emergencies you see while on the road. You can also call #77 to reach Virginia State Police directly.

News 3 reached out to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin about the recent shootings on local interstates and highways. A spokesperson sent News 3 this comment Gov. Youngkin made Monday morning:

"The administration has been systematically meeting with local government, federal government resources, and state government resources. And these meetings are really showing some very practical responses and approaches. When we hear over and over again, we need more resources. Additionally, I keep hearing is we need to make sure that we arrest people, but we prosecute them, and we put them behind bars when they commit violent crimes. Violent crime is on the rise, the murder rate is at a 20 year high. We're seeing it escalate and it's really one of the top issues that we're working to deal with. You're going to see a series of continued actions from us in order to bring violent crime down in neighborhoods."