State patrol reports 11 shootings on local highways since start of new year

There is a grim statistic regarding Seattle’s freeways, as authorities investigate another shooting. There have been 11 shootings since the start of 2024 and the shooters are still on the loose.

Troopers have not disclosed where the 10th shooting happened but the 11th happened late Monday night on southbound I-5 near the I-405 interchange in Tukwila.

A man in his 30s was critically hurt. That man is the second person injured in one of these shootings.

So far, no one has died. But it is making what should be an uneventful, albeit crowded drive on King County freeways potentially lethal.

Around 11 p.m. Monday night a driver said he heard loud pops and then realized he had been shot. 

“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Jason Hibbitt.

He has owned his towing company since 2011. He often picks up the cars from the freeway that have the markings of gunfire.

But he said he hasn’t been concerned that someone might shoot at him.

“Where I’m at, in the towing business,” said Hibbitt, “We pick up the cars after the fact. So, no, I’m not worried personally.”

Perhaps he should be. There were 53 shootings on King County freeways in 2022. Last year, that number rose to 57. At the current pace of eleven shootings so far in 2024, the number could climb to nearly 80 by year’s end.

“I am surprised by it,” said Monica Alexander. “I mean when I was a trooper and I would hear about a shooting on the freeway, like it was a big deal.”

For 23 years, Alexander patrolled King County’s freeways and highways as a Washington State Trooper. Now she’s executive director of the state’s Criminal Justice Training Commission which trains new officers. 

She said these shootings may be the consequence of drivers losing their tempers on the roadway.

“One of the things people have to know is not to get into it with people on the freeway,” Alexander said. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with. And it might not even be, it’s probably not personal. But it turns personal when you flip someone off because they cut you off. Maybe they just didn’t see you. Can we just move on? Let them have the lane. You’re still going to get there.”

Alexander thinks increased patrols on the highway can help as well as a trooper in the median or by the side of the highway.

They would be there to hand out more tickets. But also to prevent the bad thing, she said, from happening again.