CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - California Highway Patrol says two freeway shootings in Contra Costa Wednesday night are unrelated and no one was hurt, but they are examples of a growing problem in the Bay Area.
The first happened around 9:45 p.m. on Interstate 680 near Treat Boulevard in Walnut Creek, the second about an hour later on Highway 4 near Port Chicago Highway in Concord.
There have now been 53 freeway shootings in Contra Costa County since 2015, according to Contra Costa County prosecutor Mary Knox.
Law enforcement says the spate of freeway shootings appears to be more car-to-car shootings, but instead of feuding gangs, the shooters were upset over perceived slights behind the wheel.
"This victim was driving and got into a kind of road rage altercation at this time with another vehicle," said CHP Officer Nathan Johnson. "The other vehicle first threw bottles at him and then the victim's rear window shattered out. So he initially thought that his vehicle had been struck by a bottle and that was what broke the window. He drove home at about 11 at night he discovered a bullet fragment in his vehicle, so he called us and said his vehicle had been shot on the freeway."
KTVU traffic cameras caught the backup as CHP closed part of 680 to look for evidence.
Then at 11 p.m. another driver called CHP to report a second shooting.
"The victim called in to say that they had been shot. Their vehicle had been shot on [Highway] 4 eastbound near Port Chicago Highway and they called in to say that they were the victim of that shooting," Johnson said.
The victim's vehicle was towed to the CHP office. Bullet holes could be seen on the side.
"Unfortunately it's getting a little tiring, people taking out their aggression on the freeway here. And we're just fortunate last night nobody got hurt," Johnson said.
The CHP doesn't have a breakdown of how many the shootings are linked to road rage.
Authorities say easy access to guns, plus the Bay Area's notorious traffic could be a potentially dangerous combination, but the CHP says drivers should keep their emotions in check.
"We encourage drivers to not let altercations escalate on the freeway and if someone high-beams you or cuts you off, just let it go, take a deep breath, take the high road.
Authorities say many drivers on Bay Area freeways and highways tend to only see the big, hulking object that's in their way at that moment.
"There's very little humanity associated with the car itself and I think people disconnect and they really fail to realize there's a human being inside that car," said Knox.