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Police Check Report of Bullet Striking Passenger on Freeway

October 16, 1987

Los Angeles police are investigating the shooting of a man who said he was struck in the shoulder by a bullet that shattered the windshield of a pickup truck in which he was riding Thursday morning on the Ventura Freeway.

However, police said they are skeptical because the victim slept for about five hours before seeking treatment at a hospital and did not contact police until afterward.

"Based on the circumstances of how it was reported, some questions have been raised about it," said Lt. Ron LaRue of North Hollywood Division detectives.

LaRue said Jeffrey Brown, 25, a musician from West Los Angeles, told police he was riding between two friends in the front seat of the pickup when the windshield was shattered about 12:30 a.m. as the truck was eastbound on the Ventura Freeway at the Hollywood Freeway interchange.

"The windshield shattered and, a few moments later, one of them looked at Brown and said, 'Oh, you've got a hole in your jacket,' " LaRue said. "Then he looked up his arm and said, 'Oh, I've been hit.' "

LaRue said the truck continued on and Brown stopped at a friend's home and went to sleep. Upon waking after 6 a.m., he went to Veterans Administration Medical Center in West Los Angeles where a small-caliber bullet was found in his shoulder, LaRue said.

The lateness of the report left police unable to search the freeways for a suspect, LaRue said. By late Thursday, detectives could not say for sure whether Brown was the latest victim of random violence on California freeways.

"At this point, we can't do anything other than try to determine if it is an accurate report," LaRue said.

Brown could not be reached for comment.

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