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Axes, Sling-Shots and Guns: Road Rage Incidents Spike Amid Pandemic

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Since the pandemic began, road rage incidents have been spiking nationwide. Just in the last month, CBS13 has covered crashes, shootings, and arrests all resulting from road rage.

An ax, sling-shot, and a firearm have been the weapons of choice for angry drivers behind the wheel.

"I heard like a window shatter," said Abdullah Alfatly

Alfatly said he fell victim to a road rage incident carried out by a man the California Highway Patrol has identified as Jose Bonilla.

A video you first watched on CBS13 shows Bonilla firing a homemade sling-shot at drivers.

"When I saw the video, I was like 'Yes, this is the same car," Alfatly said.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office said, on July 8, a woman in Lincoln was shot in the leg after an apparent road rage confrontation. Andre Lepe, 22, was arrested for assault with a firearm.

"It's a pretty dangerous corner. Backup jams, fights, arguments," said Picazo Espinoza, who lives in Sacramento.

Just this past Monday, Sacramento police confirm a suspect exited a car and struck another person's vehicle with an ax near South Land Park Drive. Espinoza lives in the area.

"I don't honk because it's gotten worse. Obvious reason is COVID and the frustration," Espinoza said.

Psychologist Dr. Diane Powell explained the pandemic is taking a toll on everyone.

"Road rage is an expression of turning anger outward. It's a scapegoat measure. Whether it's cutting somebody off or shooting somebody, there's all kinds of expression," Dr. Powell said.

According to Everytown – an organization for gun safety – over the last year, 42 people a month nationwide have been shot and killed or wounded in road rage incidents.

If incidents continue to increase, the organization predicts there will be more than 500 victims of road rage in 2021.

"Best circumstances are to work on your anger. Take ten deep breaths slowly in and out," Dr. Powell said.

The Sacramento Police Department said they have not noticed a significant increase of road rage in the city specifically, but it's something they are tracking.

CBS13 did reach out to the California Highway Patrol for information as well. That data wasn't immediately available.

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