INDIANAPOLIS – A shooting incident on the interstate that left two men injured, including one critically, is under investigation by the Indiana State Police (ISP).
ISP said troopers, along with officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), responded to a report of a person shot inside a vehicle on Interstate 70 westbound near Shadeland Avenue just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
State Police said two people were found inside a vehicle near mile marker 88 with injuries, including a rideshare driver who suffered minor injuries caused by shrapnel. He was not shot during the incident. According to police, he was taken to an area hospital in stable condition.
The second person, a man who police said was sitting in the back seat of the car, suffered at least one gunshot wound and was taken to an area hospital in critical condition.
“At this point, we don’t know who fired the shots. We do believe they came from another vehicle,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine.
Police believe the man in the back seat of the car was allegedly shot at by someone in another vehicle. Investigators also believe a third person was in the car, however, that person fled the scene on foot after the shooting occurred and before police arrived, so it is not clear whether they were also injured in the incident.
Police said, based on their preliminary investigation, they are confident in saying they do not believe this shooting to be random.
“We do believe this was targeted. We don’t believe this was a result of road rage,” said Perrine.
Initially, IMPD indicated preliminary information at the scene led them to believe two people were shot, but later information indicated the second victim was struck by shrapnel, rather than gunfire.
For several hours Sunday night, police had I-70 WB in the immediate area where the vehicle was located closed down to several lanes as the investigation was underway.
“When you’re dealing with a crime that occurs on the interstate, specifically a vehicle shooting from one to the other, those vehicles are oftentimes moving,” said Perrine. “So you have a moving crime scene, the area you have to search, the area you have to check is much larger. Our detectives, our investigators work hard to get as much in those crime scenes that they can but the fact that they’re mobile crime scenes and that they are on an interstate, does create some challenges.”
Sunday night’s shooting follows a drastic increase in the number of interstate shootings in the Indy area that ISP has investigated.
In 2019, data from ISP shows the agency investigated 12 interstate shootings and in 2020, it investigated 23. That number jumped significantly in 2021 when ISP investigated 65 interstate shootings.
“That was a substantial increase from what we had in 2020, and so, we are investigating every one of those diligently. We did get some of those closed, but some of those are still active investigations, and it’s not something we look past, it’s not something we take lightly,” said Perrine.
This is the ninth shooting on an Indianapolis-area interstate since the start of 2022, ISP confirms.
Richard Talley, who lives in the area and drives the interstate often, said he heard about Sunday night’s shooting and is concerned.
“It definitely concerns me. It’s getting worse and worse,” he said.
Like several drivers FOX59 spoke with on Monday, Talley said he’s worried the alleged shooters in these incidents aren’t thinking about the consequences these actions could have on innocent lives.
“It’s definitely one of the concerns that I have because it could’ve been my family, it could’ve been me, it could’ve been anybody,” said Talley. “It’s sad how much they don’t think before they react to these types of things.”
Kimyanna Rudolph learned of the shooting on Monday for the first time but said she shares the same worries as Talley and hopes people will think twice before doing something that could endanger others.
“Just please think before you get in the car, think before you’re going to go shoot somebody. Think about how your actions have reactions. There’s cause and effect to everything. Just think about it. Think about other people’s lives,” said Rudolph. “I would hope that people would just care enough not to do these things. I mean the world has become so desensitized.”
“Any time someone makes a choice to recklessly discharge a firearm regardless of where they are, there are dangers that come with that,” said Perrine. “When you add in discharging that firearm on an interstate with other cars, with other traffic, other bystanders, it does increase those dangers.”
ISP wants to reiterate that Sunday’s shooting is not believed to be related to an incident of road rage, but does remind people to remain vigilant and diligent on the roadways.
“What we can ask is for people to stay diligent. If you’re driving on the highway and you see something suspicious, you see something dangerous, you see two other people engage in road rage, call 911. Call us and allow us to investigate,” said Perrine.
ISP said it does not have a description of the suspect or suspect vehicle. Investigators are asking anyone who was traveling in the area of I-70 near Shadeland Ave. around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, who might have witnessed anything or may have dash camera footage, to call Indiana State Police.