COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The shooting death of a car's passenger was not an accident and is possibly linked to at least one other case of a vehicle being shot at along the same stretch of freeway, authorities said Friday.
Authorities have been investigating 10 shootings on or near a stretch of Interstate 270, the highway that circles Columbus. On Tuesday, Gail Knisley, 62, was killed after a bullet ripped through the driver's door of her best friend's car on I-270, narrowly missing the driver.
Franklin County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Steve Martin said Friday that ballistic tests show Knisley's case was possibly linked to at least one other shooting case and "investigators cannot eliminate the possibility that several other reported cases are related as well."
"Because of these findings, it is clear the shooting incident which resulted in the death of Mrs. Knisley was not a single or accidental act of violence," Martin said. He would not elaborate further.
The first shooting was in May and the rest in the last seven weeks.
Martin would not speculate on the type of weapon used and said investigators are avoiding the word "sniper."
He said it's unclear to detectives whether there are one or multiple shooters. He said the task force has received more than 100 tips.
Extra patrols have been assigned to the southern stretch of I-270. The sparsely populated area includes woods frequented by hunters and people practicing target shooting, along with industrial sites and some suburban neighborhoods.
The latest shooting was confirmed Thursday. A Columbus woman who got a flat tire Oct. 10 while driving near the interstate found out from workers replacing the tire that a bullet was to blame, he said. She did not file a police report at the time, but she called authorities after hearing about the other shootings.
"I'm not in a position where I can tell you exactly what happened, whether someone was stationary or mobile when any of these shots were fired," said Martin on Thursday. He would not elaborate further on Friday.
Although the shootings happened in the same general area, the reports were filed by different law-enforcement agencies and weren't coordinated until Tuesday, officials said.
Edward Cable is leery of returning to Columbus after a bullet pierced his minivan about 16 inches behind the driver's seat on Nov. 21.
But he said he'll keep making the 75-mile drive from his home in Lucasville to see his daughter, who lives a few miles from the shooting sites. Cable said he worries about her safety and his own.
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"So far it's been a selected area, but someone like that, you don't know what they're going to do, or where," Cable, 53, said Thursday.