Shootings heighten students’ awareness

Daily Sundial

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Four deaths have occurred as a result of nine different highway shootings in the Los Angeles area since mid-March, causing some commuter students to become more aware of their actions on the road.

The California Highway Patrol has assembled a task comprised of officers from several different departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Ana Police Department force in response to the shootings, according to CHP spokesperson John Samson.

The task force assembled by the CHP is looking into possible leads and is gathering suspect information, Samson said.

Wade Kepplinger, junior health science major, said the news of a new CHP task force has not instilled much confidence in him.

“A task force could be just three extra officers,” Kepplinger said.

Samson declined to comment on whether assembling the task force would take resources from other areas, and did not give specifics on the plans for the task force.

After hearing his co-workers voice their fear of being on the freeways following the recent shootings, Kepplinger said people are now more aware about what they do while driving.

“(My co-workers are) always talking about it,” Kepplinger said. “It’s making people more aware, and making them re-evaluate situations. (Now), instead of flipping people the bird, if someone cuts them off, they just keep their heads down.”

Others do not feel it is necessary to worry about the shootings.

Candice Wittkins, double major in deaf studies and communication studies, said she drives on several freeways every day, but none of her routes have been affected by the shootings.

“I’m not concerned for my own safety, but I am concerned for other people’s safety,” Wittkins said. “I think it’s a (cowardly) thing to do to just go up and shoot people anonymously.”

Freshman Demmitre Booker said there is no use worrying, because the attacks seem to be random.

“It concerns me, but I’m going to continue to live life,” Booker said. “I’m not going to shut down. If they’re going to shoot you, they’re going to shoot you regardless. When it’s your time to go, it’s time to go.”

According to Kepplinger, since the shootings seem to be done randomly, there is not much the police can do.

“(With) these random shootings, I don’t think there’s much that can be done,” Kepplinger said.

“They could use cameras, but if the (suspect or suspects are) wearing ski masks, there’s nothing (the police) can do,” Kepplinger said.