SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw spoke about a rash of Metro Detroit freeway shootings, saying he believes drivers are speeding more during the pandemic, leading to disputes on the roadway.
Over the past six months, Metro Detroit drivers have had to cope with a new hazard: Gunfire. The most recent incident came Tuesday evening. State troopers are taking a look at what’s being the disturbing trend.
Tuesday’s shooting forced MSP to shut down I-96 near Greenfield Road. Shaw said the incident began with a run-in between two men at Joy Road and the Southfield Freeway and moved to I-96.
A Jeep was riddled with bullets. Its windows were shattered and a tire was blown. The drive called his family to pick him up and drive him to the hospital, police said.
“Unfortunately, the victim is also possibly, maybe a suspect,” Shaw said. “He isn’t being the most helpful person to the investigation, and when that happens, it slows things down with motive and things like that.”
While this incident began with a crime and ended up on the highway, it can also happen the other way around, Shaw said. Two weeks ago, a fatal shootout spilled from I-94 into Harper Woods sides streets.
“A lot of them are road rage, probably about 80% or so,” Shaw said.
Officers are left looking for shell casings, often closing rush hour roadways for hours.
“I cannot wrap my head around why somebody would fire a gun at somebody just because they didn’t use their left-hand turn signal,” Shaw said.
He believes in many cases, these shootings are happening because drivers have upped their speed on empty roads during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Through witness tips, videos and noted license plates, MSP officials have made four arrests and have suspects in all the cases, he said.
Shaw believes more than anything, drivers need to take a deep breath and step back if they find themselves in a possible road rage situation. He said it’s important to de-escalate the situation.
Michigan State Police officials said since June 15, there have been 18 shooting incidents on Metro Detroit highways, including 14 in Detroit. Most of them have happened between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays, they said.