State highways saw more than 400 incidents last year. Police are still trying to understand why
It was a few minutes after 11pm on 27 October 2021 when Ramon Price Sr received a call from a number he recognized as the county coroner’s office. Price’s oldest son, Ramon Price Jr, had been shot while driving his white Chevrolet Malibu on a stretch of Oakland freeway, the office said. The 27-year-old had died at the scene. They had spoken just hours before. Price Jr had called from the mechanic shop working on his car, annoyed by a delay. Hearing the frustration in his son’s voice, Price had offered to handle the issue the next day. Father and son said they loved each other and hung up the phone. The elder Price settled in for an evening of television with his wife, and his son began his drive home. The shooting that killed Price Jr that night was one of at least 411 that took place on California highways in 2021, according to data the Guardian obtained from the California highway patrol (CHP). The number caps a stunning rise in gun violence incidents on the state’s major roads in recent years. In 2020, CHP recorded 397 shootings on California highways. In 2019, there were 210 such shootings – nearly 200 fewer, the agency reported to the legislative analyst office (LAO), a bipartisan committee that advises California’s lawmakers, at the time.