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Investigators probing possible link between East County vehicle-to-vehicle shootings

Investigators probing possible link between East County vehicle-to-vehicle shootings
Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 19:52:21-04

HARBISON CANYON, Calif. (KGTV) - Deputies are looking into a possible link between two vehicle-to-vehicle shootings in the East County area that occurred earlier this week.

On Monday night, around midnight, Karen Belchamber was headed from her grandson’s home.

She was driving from Alpine to Lakeside in her MINI Cooper. She was headed westbound on I-8, right before the Harbison Canyon-Dunbar Lane exit, when a dark SUV raced past her in the passing lane, before cutting into her lane and suddenly stopping.

“He literally stopped on the highway in front of me, and I had to swerve around him,” said Belchamber.

Belchamber says after she swerved, the SUV started moving again, driving in the right lane alongside her.

“I heard a bang and a thud noise,” said Belchamber.

Seconds later, there was another noise, and movement from the SUV's driver-side window.

“Heard the sound of a second gunshot and actually saw the muzzle flash of the gun,” said Belchamber.

A startled Belchamber got off at the next exit, before calling 911.

“Scared, just thinking of getting out of there as fast as I could, getting away from him,” said Belchamber.

A photo of her car shows a dent on a back passenger door where she believes a bullet ricocheted off her car.

Earlier that day and some 15 miles to the west, there was an incident with similar details. Deputies say a 28-year-old man driving a white truck was getting off SR-125 at Mission Gorge Road when a black SUV drove parallel to him. Then gunfire erupted.

Deputies tell ABC 10News they are now looking into a possible link between the two shootings. An investigator told Belchamber there may be additional incidents.

“They did say there were numerous incidents … trying to catch the guy before somebody got killed,” said Belchamber.

In the meantime, Belchamber is staying off the highway.

“My kids, and all my grandchildren drive that road all time time … I don’t feel comfortable driving the road right now,” said Belchamber.

Belchamber never saw the driver, but believes the SUV was a newer model with tinted windows.

ABC 10News reached out to investigators to see if there are any additional cases beyond the two shootings and are waiting to hear back.

Anyone with information on either incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Alpine Station at 619-659-2600 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.