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Police form new task force to find SR 509 shooter

KING COUNTY, Wash. - - Some local law enforcement agencies are joining forces in hopes of stopping a series of shootings that have happened on SR 509 in the past seven months.

Police are asking the public to help them figure out who’s randomly shooting at people while they’re driving on 509. They have very little information and after this last shooting, they want to help a family heal and find justice.

“We’re fairly confident that somebody out there in our community has information that will help us to solve this crime,” said Ken Thomas, Chief of Des Moines Police Dept.

A 14-year old boy is now permanently blind after being shot in the eye on 509 nearly a month ago. The family was traveling on 509 just south of the 1st Avenue bridge when it happened. They didn’t want to be interviewed, but police say they need more information to solve this crime.

“We all have an obligation to make sure that this does not happen again and have the courage to come forth with the information,” said Scott Somers with the King County Sheriff's Office.

This type of shooting has happened before on 509, but this is the first time anyone has been injured. Investigators have created a task force and are now working on 11 shooting cases involving SR 509 since June.

“We don’t have anything concrete to tie any of these shootings together. Washington State Patrol has seven active investigations into these shootings on 509. Both the Des Moines Police Dept and King County Sheriff’s Office have additional shootings related State Route 509," said Cpt. Ron Mead with Washington State Patrol.

On June 13, four cars were shot at on 509 around the same time that afternoon. Some of the victims described how they just barely escaped being hit by gunfire.

“There’s the bullet whole and it exits into the seat," said Mike Luiz, a victim of 509 shooting in June.

Mary Ertl was also a victim in June and said, “It just went everywhere. I don’t know. My whole car was just filled with dust and glass.”

Law enforcement agencies say 509 is still safe for drivers but they’d like for people to be more aware of their surroundings. The task force plans to continue working on the cases with help from the community until they catch the person responsible for the shootings.

If you see something suspicious while on 509, you should immediately call 911. But if you have information about any of these shootings, you can make an anonymous tip on their tip line or send an email.

Task Force Tip Line - (425) 401-7880

Task Force Email -  sr509shootingtip@wsp.wa.gov.

 

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