Three suspects taken in custody Thursday following another freeway shooting in the Bay Area are believed to be connected to gangs, the California Highway Patrol said.
The CHP estimates 80 freeway shootings on Bay Area highways since 2015. The most recent shooting occurred Thursday afternoon on Interstate 80 in Richmond.
"These are heinous events," CHP spokesman John Franzen said. "These events are so dangerous to the motoring public."
Police said a man and a woman were hurt in Thursday's targeted shooting, which also prompted eastbound lanes of the freeway to be shut down until late Thursday.
RAW VIDEO: CHP Investigating I-80 Shooting in Richmond
The 24-year-old male victim from Pinole, who had been driving a Honda minivan, suffered five gunshot wounds and was airlifted to a hospital, the CHP said. He was in grave condition on Friday, police said. The woman was transported by ambulance. She remained in stable condition Friday.
The shooting is the latest in a string of shootings along East Bay roadways, mostly on I-80 and Highway 4, over the past few years. In response, some cities such as Pittsburg have installed cameras on the roadways.
Hercules Councilman Dan Romero and a dozen other local leaders have asked the state for $2 million to install security cameras and license plate readers along I-80 and other roadways.
"This will continue to happen until the state pays to have cameras installed along the freeway," Romero said Thursday.
Romero is upset because little action has been taken.
"We’ve been lucky," he said. "Maybe it’s been targeted, but what happens when one day a young family loses their child?"
Shooting on Interstate 80 in Richmond Injures 2, Shuts Down Eastbound Lanes
Meanwhile, police said the three suspects in Thursday's shooting will formally be charged next week and could face attempted murder or murder charges depending on the condition of the victim.
CHP issued the following statement late Friday:
"The CHP takes any crime or violence on our state right-of-way seriously. Through the cooperation of the public andshould be noted that we’re responding to the reporters’ inquiry sent to the California State Transportation Agency. area witnesses, the CHP and other Bay Area law enforcement agencies have been able to arrest 12 suspects related to freeway shootings since November 2015. These shootings have involved targeted individuals, many related to gang-on-gang violence. Last August law enforcement and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of 24 gang members – many of whom they believe are responsible for freeway shootings in the area.
In regards to cameras and license plate readers requested by the mayors last year, Caltrans has been expediting encroachment permits for locals – so far the Cities of Pittsburgh and San Pablo have successfully installed cameras and, in some locations, license plate readers. The state continues to work cooperatively with local police chiefs and mayors, law enforcement, the FBI, the District Attorney, and others to come up with potential solutions."