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Memphis highway shootings on track to top 2020 total

There have been at least 69 highway shootings since the start of the year.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis has had at least 69 highway shootings in the first six months of the year compared to 83 in total in 2020.

Drivers, like Raven Calloway, are worried about being in the crosshairs of the road rage. 

"I don’t really look at nobody when they cut me off or I don’t tend to stop too close to people because people do take it the wrong way and you don’t know what they are carrying in their car," Calloway said. 

Highway shootings were at a record low in 2019, with Operation Grizzly Bear, when multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up to patrol the roads. 

Between staffing shortages within the Memphis Police Department and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee saying he's not ready to invest in more state troopers in Memphis, one driver Local 24 News spoke with said it needs to be up to the drivers to slow down. 

"You can’t be everywhere," the driver said. "These guys know, somehow, know where to drive fast when the cops are not around."

While others said MPD needs to step it up. 

"I’ll see cars pass by me racing and speeding and I know they’re about to get pulled over then the cops are still sitting there," Calloway said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he hopes to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to combat shootings on the highways and interstates.

"From a state perspective, we’re hoping these funds can go to things we’ve been asking for help with for many years—more and a permanent presence of Tennessee Highway Patrol Officers on our interstates in Memphis and cameras on our interstates in Memphis to help curb interstate shootings," Strickland said. 

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