CHP dedicates full-time task force to investigate Monterey Co. projectile shooter
PRUNEDALE, Calif. - California Highway Patrol says 62 vehicles have been hit by projectiles along Highway 101 and Highway 156 in the Prunedale area after a dozen more cars were damaged between last Thursday and Saturday.
The CHP says there were six incidents in as many minutes around 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Highway 101 near Mallory Canyon Road, about eight miles south of the Big Red Barn landmark.
Two cars were also hit Thursday and four more on Friday.
No one has been seriously injured, but five people have suffered minor injuries since the attacks began in February.
"The person that's doing this is being extremely bold. They need to be highly motivated in what they're doing. And to counter that, we've increased our patrols in the region. We have a full-time task force dedicated to investigating this," said Capt. Kyle Foster, commander of the Monterey division of the CHP.
Foster says in all the incidents something is "projected at a high-velocity" and in most of the cases, the drivers' side window or front windshield is damaged or shattered.
In one case, a window on a school bus was hit.
Investigators say they know exactly what the projectile is but they're not disclosing that information because of the investigation.
"We know it's not a traditional firearm. We haven't recovered any bullets. We have recovered evidence on-scene and we have recovered projectiles," said Foster.
Most of the incidents have occurred in Monterey County along Highway 101 in the Prunedale area, and along neighboring Highway 156 West.
But incidents have occurred as far north in San Benito County off Highway 101 at Rocks Road, not far from San Juan Bautista.
"It's a little bit scary because I know it's been happening for a long time and we don't know who it is and how do you catch someone like that," said Megan Toler who lives in the area.
Despite a $14,000 reward to catch whomever is behind the damage, no one has been caught.
"It's kind of a mystery because I know that law enforcement is putting a lot of energy into investigating it and somehow they're not able to find the person or the people," said Julie Randle, who drives between Monterey and Hollister several times a week.
"We've already increased our staffing to work the Prunedale area in response to these incidents and you're going to see a much larger response over the holiday season from my officers during that period," said Foster.
If you're driving through the area, the CHP advises drivers keep car windows rolled up and if a window is struck, to safely pull over and call 911 immediately.