ST. LOUIS — Tuesday night, a 17-year-old told St. Louis police he drove eastbound on Interstate 70 near Bircher Boulevard when he suddenly heard gunshots.
Police said within moments, the teenager noticed he'd been shot in his shoulder, hand and leg.
Last Thursday officers say someone in a sedan pulled alongside 32-year-old LaTasha Cole's car, shot and killed her near I-70 and Cass Avenue then sped off.
Since September 2020, there have been at least six other shootings along I-70.
"I just think it really has to stop," said Jerome Hall.
Hall lives in north St. Louis, where both interstate shootings recently happened.
"It's dangerous and the people who are doing these shootings just aren't caring about anybody else's well-being," said Hall.
Troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol will now help St. Louis police officers monitor I-70.
"Adding state patrols will help out a lot, but at the same time, I would tell them to not just do it periodically. I think it has to be ongoing," Hall said.
Chief John Hayden said the troopers will focus on weekend evening hours, with periodic enforcement on late Friday and Saturday nights.
"Additionally, as far as our current incidents, the vast majority of them would not be road rage or random occurrences, but through the investigations, it would appear as though the victims and potential suspects are people who are at least loosely acquainted with each other," SLMPD said in a statement. "However, difficulties arise when the victims don't see who was shooting at them, and when any ballistic evidence is potentially scattered on the highway or in the car from which the shots were fired."
Carol Nowak also lives near the area where the teen and woman were shot while driving.
"Tons of innocent people drive up and down the interstate. We just want to get from A to B safely," Nowak said.
She too thinks troopers teaming up with city cops to crack down on interstate violence is a move in the right direction.
"I think it is a good idea. I also just feel like our St. Louis police officers are under the gun right now. They're busy doing all sorts of things. Any additional help we can get, I'm for it," Nowak said.
As of Thursday, police were still investigating the two recent shootings on the interstate. As of right now, no one has been arrested.
This is not the first time the Missouri State Highway Patrol has been called upon to help patrol St. Louis interstates. In 2019, MSHP Troopers worked various St. Louis interstates to crack down on violent crime. In 2017, then-Governor Eric Greitens ordered a similar effort.