Memphis approaches new record for interstate shootings; 81 shootings reported this year

Investigations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is on the verge of breaking a new record after yet another driver dodged bullets while driving on the interstate.

Early Thursday morning, Interstate-40 was shut down as officers investigated. They say a man in a silver sedan reportedly fired shots at a truck towing a boat before getting off at Watkins.

The victim had only minor injuries and is expected to be okay.

This shooting marks 81 interstate shootings in Memphis so far this year, coming close to last year’s total of 83.

WREG Investigators found out this year’s shootings were reported on every interstate in the area, with at least six along Sam Cooper and seven near I-240 and Perkins.

Diane Perkins says drivers she’s seen on the interstate are out of control.

“Oh yeah, in and out of lanes. Bumper to bumper. Trying to push you off the road,” she said.

It’s something MPD is trying to stop. It recently launched an operation called “Slow down Memphis.” It’s assigned officers from every precinct and organized crime unit and recruited help from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol— to crack down on reckless driving, drag racing and interstate shootings.

“We had an initiative last year, but it wasn’t as intense. We decided to dedicate more manpower to it,” said Michael Hardy, MPD Deputy Chief of Special Operations.

But sadly, the violence keeps happening. Officers say it got worse during the pandemic, blaming boredom and less drivers on the road.

They also blame legislation that allows people to carry guns in cars without a permit, saying that not only are drivers close to the weapon when tempers flare, but they’re leaving their firearms in the car.

Through June, 812 guns were reported stolen from cars in Memphis. If that rate continues, Memphis will hit another record this year for guns stolen from vehicles.

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