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Arrests Made In East Bay Freeway Shootings

KCBS_740 RICHMOND (CBS SF) – Five suspects have been taken into custody in a crackdown of a flurry of freeway shootings in the East Bay, the California Highway Patrol confirmed Thursday.

According to CHP Officer John Fransen, the arrests have come as a result of a task force consisting of local and federal law enforcement agencies assembled to
investigate the more than 20 freeway shootings that have occurred on Highways 80, 580 and 4 since November.

Four people have died – including a pregnant mother of four – and 12 of been wounded in the shootings.

The task force has targeted local gangs who they believed are behind the freeway violence.

There no other immediate details involving the arrests.

The announcement came as the mayors of five communities located near the highways – Hercules, Richmond, El Cerrito, Pinole and San Pablo – met to discuss how to address the rising tide of violence.

Hercules Mayor Dan Romero drafted a letter that his fellow mayors signed asking Governor Jerry Brown for the funding to install 12 to 14 cameras on freeway on- and off-ramps to aid in the arrests of the shooters. The letter addressed to Brown says the situation has reached "crisis proportions." The frequency of the shootings and number of places they occur have scared drivers and snarled traffic.

"These are gang members and they are being very effective in creating terror (on the freeways)," Romero told KCBS on Wednesday.

His comments came just hours after he was informed of the latest shooting on nearby Highway 80 as he was ending a city council meeting Wednesday night.

CHP and transportation officials "have been in close communication with the community on the issue and will be working on arranging a meeting with city officials involved to further discuss the situation," California State Transportation Agency deputy secretary Melissa Figueroa said.

The California Highway Patrol reported the shooting at 9:16 p.m. on Highway 80 just west of state Highway 4.

One victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening wounds.

"Those cameras would be documenting cars going on the freeway and off the freeway," he told KCBS. "We are also requesting that there be funding to allow the cameras to have the ability to record video."

Authorities believe the majority of the shooting are gang related with a sprinkling in of road rage incidents.

"All of the shootings that have occurred whether it be gang-related or road rage related are very specially targeted," Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan told KCBS. "We don't have a random shooter on the freeway."

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