Whatever happened to that I-5 shooter?: Still at large

Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm
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View of bullet hole looking forward from front seat of Mazda hatchback. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It’s been a year since a driver on Interstate 5 fired a handgun at least once, sending a bullet through the rear window of the car ahead of him, busting a hole through the top left corner of its rearview mirror and then piercing the windshield.

“It came really close, really close, to the driver,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn said.

The shooter has yet to be identified and law enforcement is once again reaching out to the public for information, in hopes of making an arrest.

“Even sometimes it’s the littlest things people tell us that can help us crack the case,” Finn said.

It happened around 11 a.m. on December 30, 2015, a Wednesday, during a road rage incident and chase that took place southbound in the 13-mile stretch north of Chehalis.

The victim driver escaped injury. The rear window of his silverish-gray four-door Mazda hatchback was shattered when he pulled into the parking lot at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis to call 911.

Finn said they only got a couple of calls at the time and since, have followed up on one anonymous tip about who the shooter might be. It wasn’t him, he said.

The crime lab tested the glass and confirmed gunshot residue, he said.

The shooter was driving a black, mid 2000s base-model Jeep Cherokee with non-tinted windows and Washington license plates. He is believed to have exited the freeway somewhere between milepost 80 and milepost 76.

Its driver was described as a white male in his 60s to 70s with gray hair and a gray or white beard.  He had a passenger described as a white female in her 80s, wearing a red shirt with an oxygen tube in her nose.

The encounter actually began in south Thurston County around milepost 93 or the Scatter Creek Rest Area. Finn said the victim, a  25-year-old man from Spanaway, was driving in the fast lane and when he came up on the Jeep, got “brake checked.”

“The victim admitted to partaking in behavior, brake checks back and forth,” Finn said. “But the other driver took it to a whole other level.”

They were traveling in and out of traffic at speeds of 85 to 90 mph, Finn said at the time.

Anyone with any information about the driver or the passenger, or if they witnessed it, we’d like them to call in, Finn said.

“As police officers, we don’t like cold cases, things to go unsolved,” he said.

Detective Jen Ortiz can be reached at 360-449-7948.
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For background, read “Interstate 5 shooter remains at large” from Wednesday January 6, 2016, here

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The suspect Jeep looks like this one pictured.

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Rear window of Mazda hatchback was shattered.

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5 Responses to “Whatever happened to that I-5 shooter?: Still at large”

  1. Extenuating Circumstances says:

    Just yesterday about 1:30 p.m. going northbound out of Centralia on old 99, there was an approximately early ’90’s vintage small dark teal to sea green pick up – open bed with a white metal tool box mounted behind the canopy in my rear view mirror. The driver looked to be a sixty-something white male with strangled longish white hair and a similar long strangley beard. The passenger was a small infirm looking older woman bundled in a red coat. They were behind me all the way ’til the intersection of old highway 9 and west bound highway 12. I went east they headed west – to the casino perhaps? Don’t know if this is the person of interest or not – just something I saw.

  2. Peabody Slim says:

    Good grief, don’t attack me I never fired any weapon at any car. There are so many people our there that think their in a suit if armor behind the wheel of a car. This guy who was shot at has realized there’s a Chink in his Armor now. Good for the shooter for protecting the elderly woman on Oxygen from the maniac brake checking his car. Justice served lesdon learned no one died. Move on theres more real crimes to be solved.

  3. Good Grief says:

    Peabody Slim – so, if you truly believe that a car swerving into you is “pointing a loaded weapon at me” and that you need to defend yourself; then isn’t the most logical way to “defend” yourself to slow down and let the other vehicle get ahead? Or pull over? It is “inconvenient” but inconvenience should not be a reason to step it up to gun-play.

  4. CrazyOldMan says:

    Yep, Peabody i dont feel sorry for the punk. He messed with the wrong old dude. I’m happy the bullet missed however. hopefully he has learned something.

  5. Peabody Slim says:

    The other driver said he was involved in the brake checking, then the police claim the Jeep Driver took it to a whole other level. No No No if you are in a vehicle playing these games and you are threatening another with a deadly weapon you’re vehicle. You can only expect another person to defend themselves. Cars are weapons do not forget this. Apparently people have because every time I see a texting driver swerving as you pass me on the road while not looking, you are pointing a loaded weapon at me you’re vehicle

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