‘I Am Scared': East Bay Commuters Jittery After Freeway Shooting on I-80

Commuters in the East Bay are reeling after the latest in a rash of freeway shootings injured a man Sunday.

Shots rang out on westbound Interstate Highway 80 in Pinole around 10:15 p.m. when the occupants of two cars opened fire on each other near Appian Way, according to California Highway Patrol officers. 

A Vallejo man, who police estimate is in his 30s, was struck in the torso. His wound was considered life-threatening, but he is expected to survive, officers said.

A third car that was pulled over in the shoulder because of a flat tire was also hit, but none of its three occupants were hurt, according to officers.

The shooting led to a temporary closue of I-80's westbound lanes Sunday night. 

Sunday's incident was the seventh freeway shooting in the East Bay since November and the sixth one on I-80 alone. The other shooting occurred on Interstate 580, CHP officers said.

The violence has prompted some people who live in the area to avoid the freeways as much as possible.

"Actually, a lot of times now, I try not to take the freeway," Sandra Figueroa said, adding that she often opts for "side streets" instead.

Commuters, who also heard about a recent shooting in which a two-year-old was hurt by broken glass when his family's car was struck by a bullet, are rattled.

"I am scared," January Vanmeter said. "It scares me that I have to think so hard about going to work and coming home, and feeling like I [can't] feel completely safe because I'm not sure what's going to happen."

However, a CHP news release said that the recent spate of shootings is not random. The suspects fired at specific targets and officers believe they don't pose a threat to motorists at large.

"Over 70 [million] vehicles travel through the Interstate 80 corridor per year at this location," the release said. "Though the number of shooting incidents in this area in recent months appears alarming, in reality, less than 0.00001 percent of vehicles, which travel through this corridor, have been affected."

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