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Two shot along I-35E in Twin Cities in unrelated incidents

Chao Xiong, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

Two motorists were struck by gunfire on Interstate 35E over the weekend in separate incidents authorities believe are unrelated.

A man was shot in the chin and neck about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Paul. A woman was struck in the shoulder about 2:25 a.m. Sunday in Eagan in what police there are calling a road rage incident. No arrests have been made in either case, and limited suspect information was available.

“It’s concerning that someone would go to these lengths,” State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said of the shootings.

In the St. Paul case, the victim and his brothers tried to patronize a bar in Roseville but couldn’t get in because it was at capacity, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, a St. Paul police spokesman. The men were driving south on the interstate when they heard about five shots being fired from a green Ford Explorer.

The 26-year-old driver suffered non-life threatening injuries and was dropped off at Regions Hospital, Paulos said.

The shooting occurred about 2:30 a.m. between Maryland Avenue E. and W. Pennsylvania Avenue. The men exited at Pennsylvania Avenue. No one else was injured.

It’s unclear how many people were in the suspect car, and no suspect description or license plate information were available.

There is no information linking it to the Eagan case, he said.

A 25-year-old Rosemount woman was shot in the shoulder Sunday as she sat in the front passenger seat of a Volkswagen Jetta traveling northbound on the freeway.

The Volkswagen was entering I-35E from Cliff Road when a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle started tailgating it, Eagan police said. The driver of the Volkswagen slowed, put his hand out the window and “gave the finger.”

The cars were on the interstate when someone in the SUV fired at the Volkswagen. The woman was treated at Regions Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

The driver of the Volkswagen was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The investigation is being hampered by the fact that many of occupants of the car that was fired upon were intoxicated, police said.

Since August 2011 the State Patrol has received 20 calls about shootings, 13 of those on freeways or highways, Roeske said. The number is not complete because some are not substantiated, and others are reported to other police agencies, he said.

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