Jasper Wu: In wake of toddler's death, CHP reveals Alameda Co. had 76 freeway shootings in past year

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
76 freeway shootings in Alameda Co. in last 12 months, CHP says
The freeway shooting death of 23-month-old Jasper Wu has resurfaced the conversation about adding more surveillance cameras to Bay Area freeways.

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area continues to mourn the loss of 23-month-old Jasper Wu, who was shot and killed while sleeping in his car seat on I-880 in Oakland Saturday.

ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to community leaders to see what other East Bay cities have implemented throughout the years to prevent highway shootings.

During the first press conference by CHP after Jasper's death by a stray bullet, officers revealed a shocking data point:

"Over the past 12 months there have been 76 freeway shootings within Alameda County, and most of those freeway shootings have occurred on Interstate 580 and Interstate 880," said CHP Capt. Mike Lehman.

RELATED: Oakland leaders demanding solutions after I-880 shooting that killed 23-month-old boy

When we challenged the notion of how "safe" our freeways really are, CHP Capt. Lehman responded, "The chances of this happening are not high."

Oakland councilmember Sheng Thao says shootings on freeways are part of a gun epidemic.

"Here in the city of Oakland, we've passed many policies that must be implemented. That includes gun tracing, truly getting the illegal guns off the streets, and I'm serious when I say we have a violent gun epidemic happening here," said Councilmember Thao.

RELATED: Fatal shooting prompts closure of westbound I-580 in Oakland, CHP says

To find solutions we drove to Hercules.

In 2015, Contra Costa County was facing about 115 shootings in a 13 month timespan.

Dan Romero was the first city leader in Contra Costa County to search for solutions.

"I was one mayor in 2016 that came out and said something, but then four mayors is West contra Costa County supported me. With that support we were able to go to the state and get help," said now councilmember Romero.

With $3.5 million over a 3-year period, Contra Costa County installed highway cameras along Interstate 80 and Highway 4. But to council member Romero this is not a full victory.

VIDEO: Oakland mayor, police chief plead with community as city records 100th homicide

"This is not just 100 lives lost, this is 100 groups of children that don't have a loved one, a mentor, a mom or dad, an aunt or uncle," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said today.

"It's happened again. You would've thought that when we first got that first freeway system, that the state would've taken steps to do the whole Bay Area and they didn't. So, here we are again, but this time a 23 month old child died. For what? What the hell is going on?" said Romero, with tears in his eyes.

Councilmember Romero is asking for the rest of Bay Area to unite like the East Bay did six years ago.

Contra Costa County's District Attorney Diana Becton said these cameras have been key in prosecution.

RELATED: Family urges suspect to surrender after toddler dies, caught in crossfire of I-880 shooting

"When we have all the systems working together, the shots spotters alerting law enforcement immediately that shots have been fired in a certain location, and then also the cameras that are capturing license plate readers that are actually capturing that information in real time. This can certainly be a great tool for law enforcement in solving these crimes," said DA Becton.

According to CHP, there have been 31 highway shootings in contra Costa County this year, but that's a 68 percent decrease from 2015.

"They can jump on the freeway in one location and there can be activity on that location and jump off the freeway. But now people understand that when there is movement is happening, we are able to often capture them entering or exiting the freeway," said Becton.

As to Jasper Wu, CHP has not revealed any new updates on the shooting.