APD investigating two new rock-throwing cases

Austin Police are investigating two new rock-throwing incidents. Both happened along I-35 early Sunday morning miles outside of the area where past attacks were reported.

On Sunday at 12:45 A.M., Patricia Ramirez was driving her son Jaelan and his friend home to North Texas from the Alamo Bowl. The two men play for TCU and were celebrating a win.

Ramirez told us by phone that elation turned to terror the moment she approached the Cesar Chavez exit on Northbound I-35.

"For me it was a thump… a really loud thump and then air and glass and an impact on my left shoulder," said Ramirez. "My son said that he just heard a thump and thought I had been shot in the shoulder."

Ramirez, with glass in her eyes and mouth, somehow managed to exit the interstate and call police.

"The officers told us it was likely a rock because that's what was happening," she said.

Ramirez was victim No. 50.

Victim No. 49 was struck only minutes prior as they traveled northbound on I-35 near the Braker exit.

Monday night members of the public safety commission questioned the commander in charge of the investigation.

Commander Kurtis Krause explained that it is a complicated case to investigate. For one, the attacks are sporadic.

"They're happening in the early morning hours, in the dark, midnight to 5 A.M. They're happening at a high rate of speed. We believe these rocks are being thrown from a moving vehicle," Krause said.

Krause spoke of his support for extending the height of the barriers separating north and southbound lanes as well as temporary netting.

"It would be a good solution if possible. I would be the most immediate solution I think and certainly would have a more certain outcome," Krause said. "It's a difficult investigation, but we're going to continue throwing all the resources we have at the problem and I think we'll eventually catch them. I just hope it's sooner than later."

Though she is in pain, Ramirez says she considers herself lucky.

"I came out with a bruise. Glass and the car can be fixed. For those who have permanent injuries, my heart goes out to them," Ramirez said.

Austin police will go before the public safety commission again in a few weeks to discuss who might fund the barriers or netting.

In the meantime, if something hits your car. Stop and call 9-1-1. Police say one hindrance in this investigation is that people are often waiting to report until they get to another location or the next day. It is imperative that you stop where you are so that police can better investigate.

If you know who is doing this you could receive a $1,000 reward for turning them in.

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