The CHP and San Diego police search the northbound 5 Freeway near Del Mar… (Tom Keck )
Reporting from San Diego — A 24-year-old man is being sought by police in connection with a series of midmorning freeway shootings Monday that left one motorist wounded, two cars and an ambulance with bullet holes, and the California Highway Patrol searching for clues on stretches of Interstates 805 and 5.
The CHP on Monday night identified Enrique Ayon as a "person of interest" in the shootings that caused the CHP to shut down stretches of the two freeways in a search for shell casings and other evidence. Ayon is the owner of a 2006 Chevrolet Malibu identified by witnesses as the gunman's vehicle, the CHP said.
A 26-year-old man shot in the leg was treated at a hospital.
The shootings, which one law enforcement spokesman described as "truly bizarre," appeared to be random and did not fit the usual road rage pattern, authorities said.
In the 16-minute rampage, police agencies received reports of shots hitting a vehicle along the northbound lanes of I-805 in National City and a few minutes later of a vehicle being shot at on the same freeway near California 163, where a CHP officer heard the shots. It was unclear whether the officer had been targeted.
A short time later, another vehicle was shot along the northbound I-805 in San Diego, and then an ambulance on the northbound I-5 near Del Mar, authorities said.
Witnesses said the gunman's car was a four-door Malibu, license plate 5POM917, carrying two people, both of whom are now being sought although only one has been named.
None of the incidents had the characteristic elements of a road-rage traffic confrontation that escalated out of control, authorities said. No words or gestures were apparently exchanged, and there was no indication of previous contact between any of the involved vehicles and the shooter's car, police said.
The northbound lanes of the I-805 between Interstate 8 and Mesa College Drive were closed for two hours in midafternoon as officers searched for shell casings and other evidence.
After that search was completed, a section of the northbound I-805 and a portion of the I-5 south of Del Mar Heights Road were closed for a similar search, just as commuters were beginning the trek to communities along coastal northern San Diego County.
The investigation included dozens of officers from the CHP, San Diego County Sheriff's Department and San Diego Police Department.
Public transportation was briefly halted as officers searched for the suspects on the theory that they might have ditched their car and tried to evade arrest by taking the train.
The frenzy began at 10:43 a.m. when a motorist reported being shot and wounded on the Mesa College Drive offramp of the I-805 in San Diego.
Within 16 minutes, police received reports of shots being fired at vehicles in National City, the I-805-Highway 163 area and on the I-5 near Del Mar.
Police believe the National City incident preceded the San Diego one but that the driver delayed reporting it to police because he was not injured. He was described as a 37-year-old former U.S. Navy sailor who was returning from taking his child to day care at the time.
The I-5 shooting appeared to be directed at an ambulance, but the shooter's intention was unclear, authorities said. The ambulance was on its way to a nursing home.