08:30 PM CDT on Friday, April 10, 2009
By NOELLE NEWTON / KVUE News
Police say a predator is targeting drivers in Southwest Austin. The person is shooting at cars, purposely aiming for the driver's side door.
Cars zoom along the busy Southwest Parkway. APD Sgt. Diane Leija is routinely in the thick of things, but after pulling a late night shift, she found herself the lone driver out there and the target of what she calls a predator.
"It definitely scared me," Leija said.
The driver's side door of her personal car was shot with what she believes to be a high powered pellet gun.
"It kind of jarred my body; I had my arm on the arm rest,” Leija said.
She kept driving just in case the shooter meant to do even more harm. When she reported the incident, she found out there were 12 other victims, including two APD officers hit multiple times and an officer from Bee Cave, whose window shattered and sprayed glass in his eyes.
"I think to myself how very lucky I am that it didn't penetrate my car two inches higher, because if it had, it definitely would've imploded my window and hurt me,” Leija said.
Leija says this is no prank. The shooter hides in the brush on the south side of the eastbound lanes, deliberately aiming for the driver's side doors of the westbound traffic. It always happens in the early morning hours in the 5900 block of Southwest Parkway.
"We want to put an end to this before someone gets very badly hurt, if not killed,” Leija said.
Officers are doing targeted patrols out there on foot, in cars and have even used the helicopter to find this person. If you think you've been a victim in the past, call 3-1-1 to file a police report. If you get hit or see someone suspicious in this area, call 9-1-1 immediately.