I-80 Closed After Sniper Shooting
January 6, 1999
Jan. 7 – Interstate 80 was closed for five hours near Reno, NV, Monday after a sniper opened fire and hit at least five vehicles. Police arrested a suspect after a routine traffic stop in Las Vegas the next day.
The shooting started about 9 a.m. Monday on a 5-mile stretch west of Reno. One man was shot in the chest and at least two other people were injured by flying glass.
“The window kind of exploded,” Carl Ruggiero told the Associated Press. “I heard a loud pop, glass shattered in my face.” In two cases, the bullets traveled through the center of the windshield and right between the seats.
Dozens of law officers, FBI agents, a SWAT team and two helicopters from the Nevada Highway Patrol searched the area for five hours with the interstate closed in both directions for 10 miles. But it was a broken taillight that led investigators to arrest a suspect they called a “goofball.”
The suspect was pulled over in Las Vegas for having a burned-out taillight. A check showed the truck had been stolen. His apparent motive was to shoot people in their cars, and when they crashed, he would rob them, according to officials. Officials found a rifle and a shotgun in the truck.