Video shows the suspects running away after the shooting on Interstate 18
Another highway shooting has drivers in King County worried. In the most recent case, a suspect opened fire on Wednesday — shooting three times at a driver on Interstate 18 in Auburn — striking that vehicle. Now Washington State Patrol troopers are looking for witnesses and dashcam video.
It is the seventh confirmed shooting in January of 2024 alone. If it continues like this through the rest of the year, it is now on track to surpass 57 highway shootings in King County in 2023.
Troopers say in Wednesday’s case, the victim had no idea why he was shot. But it happened just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, right after the driver passed a semi-truck legally.
“A white Dodge Charger stopped next to him. He saw the passenger holding a weapon and indicated to the investigator that he had evaded. “He heard three shots, and that vehicle took off,” said a senior trooper with the Washington State Patrol (WSP).
The victim’s car had bullet holes, but fortunately the driver was not injured. The driver got off at the SE 304th Ave exit and called 911.
The shooting led law enforcement to track the suspect down to the Charger — a rental car — all the way to an apartment complex in Fife. Troopers and police, along with a WSP plane, tracked the shipper but never pursued for safety reasons.
At some point, the suspects pulled off the freeway in Tacoma and dropped a gun. A witness called, and the troopers recovered the weapon.
The suspects then got on I-5 and continued to an apartment complex in Fife.
“I heard them barging in, I heard police sirens, they were screaming, they got their guns out of everything. It was scary,” said Aaron Wallund, who lives near the complex.
Johnson said the incident can’t be called road rage at this time, because even the victim doesn’t know why the shooter opened fire.
“Adrenaline is pumping through your body, and you don’t know if you’ve cut someone off,” Johnson said.
At the apartment complex, video from the WSP plane showed the suspects changing their clothes, abandoning the rental car and getting into another car before speeding away.
“They’ve shed their jackets. They’re wearing white shirts. ‘They know we’re here and they’re sneaking in and out of the car ports,'” you hear one of the people on the plane say.
What really has people concerned is the fact that this is the seventh confirmed highway shooting in King County so far this year.
“Only in January? Holy cow. I want to find a different place to move,” Wallund said.
Drivers say it’s hard to know how to feel safe.
“We’re just stumbling upon it I guess! If we get it back we’ll get it back. But there’s a lot of craziness out there,” said another resident of the apartment complex.
A government patrol is following up on who rented a white Dodge Charger. They are also asking witnesses and anyone with a video camera to contact them.
At the same time, they remind people to drive defensively. Don’t engage with any aggressive drivers because that appears to be a catalyst for highway shootings, Johnson says.
Troops are conducting concentrated patrols, with a focus on South King County — where Johnson says the majority of highway shootings have occurred.