Highway near Columbus briefly closed; number of linked shootings up to 14

| 12/9/2003

Law-enforcement officials in Columbus, OH, briefly closed part of the I-270 loop highway around the city Saturday, Dec. 6, to search for clues regarding a series of shootings that have take place around the road, investigators said.

The Associated Press said 23 miles of the highway – from where it intersections I-70 on the east, around the south of the city to the point where it intersects it again on the west - were closed for several hours.

Meanwhile, the number of shootings linked to the case has risen to 14. Previously, 12 shootings had been linked to the case.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said Dec. 5 that a bullet that hit a house in Obetz, OH, either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 was linked to the shootings through ballistics tests. In addition, The AP said one other shooting, which hit a car on the interstate Nov. 30, had also been linked to the string of incidents.

Twelve shootings have taken place in and around Columbus, OH, since May. Authorities now believe that all 12 shootings at or near the southwestern part of I-270, a loop highway surrounding Columbus, are linked.

Only one bullet hit a human target. It struck and killed local resident Gail Knisley Nov. 25, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Knisley was riding in the car of a friend who was taking her to see a doctor. A pickup truck was hit just a few hours later nearby. Other bullets have hit a school and other cars.

At least three commercial motor vehicles have been hit by bullets, according to police and press reports: a Yellow Freight truck, a UPS delivery truck and a Coca-Cola truck.

Police are moving closer to solving the case. While they would not release many details, they have now received more than 1,000 tips, and they have linked the bullets from five of the shootings through ballistics.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the investigation, has put out public alerts asking the shooter or shooters to contact them and start a dialog. In addition to the hotline set up for tips - (614) 462-4646 – the Sheriff’s Department has also set up a post office box for the shooter to use to contact authorities. It is PO Box 360562, Columbus, OH, 43236-0562.