RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - Since the first shooting back in November, many people have wondered what law enforcement officers are doing about the rash of shootings along Interstate 80. Wednesday night, KTVU went along with a task force made up of federal, state and local law enforcement officials to see how they plan to catch the shooters.
The day started off in a meeting where officers were told task force goals. "We're gonna go out, hit the streets and try to get some of these violent firearm offenders off the streets," said one officer.
Just minutes after the briefing was over, we were on the road with lights and sirens blaring as the task force went after their first suspect after a member of the community told police the man was in the area.
"This guy is out here with a gun in plain sight. We want him gone and we want you to deal with it. So deal with it," says Richmond Police Officer Ben Therriault.
Once on scene, officers quickly shut down several Richmond streets as a K-9 unit searched for the suspect’s last known location. About 20 minutes later, officers had a person in custody— a man police say they've had run ins with before.
"The people who live here, they're not going to tolerate something and they're going to call," says Therriault. It's that cooperation with the community that officers say helps them find and arrest criminals. Although they have a person in custody, police still hope for more.
"The only thing that would've been better is if we'd actually retrieved the firearm that was alleged to be with him," says Therriault.
Shortly after leaving that scene officers were at it again. This time police arrested a man they say is wanted for attempted murder. As of now investigators have not connected any of the men they arrested Wednesday to the nine shootings on Interstate 80 and 580 between Hercules and Berkeley, which police say often times involves rival gangs.
"When the gangs are feuding and they recognize somebody on the street, they happen to drive up on the freeway some of them," says Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan.
The task force focused on places where gang members are known to congregate. Not all of the people stopped were arrested. But once the task force is activated, officers say they have zero tolerance for crime.
"They commit a minor violation we stop them. That's usually how we're able to obtain information and get guns off the streets," says Tan. Since January, the task force has made 69 felony arrests and recovered 29 firearms.