MERRIMAC — A 16-year-old Maine girl riding in the back of her parents' SUV today on Interstate 495 north near Broad Street in Merrimac was shot in the left arm yesterday just after noon in what law enforcement authorities are calling an apparent road rage incident.
As of mid-afternoon, police in several communities were still searching for the alleged shooter, a light-skinned black or Hispanic male in his 20s with short hair wearing aviator sunglasses and a gray T-shirt. According to state police, the suspect was riding in the passenger seat of a white Honda Accord with tinted windows and a red, white and blue license plate. The car was driven by a white female wearing sunglasses.
The victim's father immediately headed to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, where his daughter was treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the upper part of her arm near her shoulder. According to police, she was conscious and alert just after the shooting.
Essex County state police detectives interviewed the parents inside a conference room near the hospital's emergency-room entrance. At the same time, a state police ballistics team and crime scene investigators were examining the bullet hole, which shattered the Nissan Xterra's left back-seat vent window.
The shooting occurred amid heavy traffic on I-495, with motorists seeking to reach area beaches as well as an air show on the Seacoast and other weekend events.
According to state police, the suspect was traveling in the left-hand lane and shot at the Nissan in what state police called a road rage confrontation. The victim's father first pulled over along the side of the highway before heading to the Newburyport hospital.
Police in Amesbury, Salisbury, Merrimac and Seabrook were initially called and at least one car matching the description of the suspect's vehicle was pulled over in Salisbury.
State police, who would not release the name of the victim, are asking for the public’s help in this matter.They said traffic at the time of the shooting was heavy and there may be other witnesses to this crime who have not yet been identified. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, they are asked to please call the state police barracks in Newbury at 978-462-7478.