After Tragic Shootings on Bay Area Freeway, Newsom Announces Funding for Cameras

OAKLAND — Following dozens of highway shootings in the Bay Area, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced funding to install cameras. Family members who have lost loved ones say the cameras can’t come fast enough.

There have been 48 highway shootings in the Bay Area over the course of a year, all similar in that there was very little evidence left behind – just bullet casings and broken families.

On Friday, Newsom announced funding for a network of closed-circuit cameras in the Bay Area and around the state to combat the growing problem.

Alicia Benton’s daughter, Amani Morris, was shot and killed near Bay Bridge Toll Plaza on her way to a job interview in November. Benton is now raising her two grandsons, little boys who were in the car when their mother was shot.

She says the news of cameras set up along Bay Area freeways is an answered prayer.

“I’ve been crying since we spoke. It’s like the best news. If they were to tell me who did it, that would be even better. Knowing that another mother doesn’t have to sleep in herself. asking what happened to her child is the best news ever,” Benton told KPIX 5.

Seven people were killed in the freeway shooting, including the former Cal basketball star Gene Ransom and toddler Jasper Wu.

Their families join Benton in unfathomable grief.

“Right before her was an 18 month old baby. What did a baby do to deserve this? I pray for all the families of the victims because it’s hard not to know,” said Benton.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Recruit David Nguyen was shot and killed almost in the same place as Amani in January.

Sheriff Greg Ahern lobbied the governor’s office to fund a camera network. Ahern said the loss of David, Jasper, Gene and Amani took a toll on his deputies.

“Even in our meetings, when we talked about next steps, what we need to do and how we deal with these events – the room goes silent, the eyes water, the voices shake – while mine shakes right now. It touches your heart,” the sheriff told KPIX 5.

Cameras will go up in Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Orange counties. Ahern said the network will provide instant information on potential suspect vehicles and help turn a blind eye to families like Amani’s.

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