Shooting investigation snarls freeway traffic

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EL CAJON, Calif. -- A 50-year-old Spring Valley driver was shot in the shoulder by a gunman in another vehicle on Interstate 8 in El Cajon early today, prompting a traffic nightmare as investigators shut down multiple lanes just in time for the morning commute, authorities said.

The shooting occurred in the area of eastbound I-8 and West Main Street around 3:40 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

The victim was driving a 1989 Ford F350 pickup with a 45-year-old Lemon Grove woman in the front passenger seat and the shooter was one of two men in their 20s in a dark Toyota Tercel, CHP spokesman Kevin Pearlstein said in a statement.

A short time earlier, all four parties were seen having a conversation at Sycuan Casino, Pearlstein said, adding the relationship between them was unclear.

“(The parties) left the casino (in their respective vehicles) and traveled onto surface streets through El Cajon prior to entering the (freeway),'' Pearlstein said. “At this time, the Toyota pulled up alongside on the left of the pickup, as multiple shots were fired. One of the rounds lodged in the left rear door of the pickup, and one round struck the driver in the left shoulder area.''

The Toyota driver then sped off and the wounded pickup driver continued driving, going to Sharp Grossmont Hospital, from where he was transferred to Sharp Memorial Hospital, Pearlstein said.

The CHP later shut down three lanes of eastbound I-8 from El Cajon Boulevard to Johnson Avenue for about 20 minutes to allow an investigation to take place. That investigation was ongoing, according to Pearlstein, who encouraged anyone with further information about the incident to call the CHP at 619-401-2000.

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