Man killed in shooting that shut down I-20 for hours



The eastbound lanes of I-20 were closed for more than three hours Thursday morning after a man was found shot inside his vehicle in downtown Atlanta.

Police discovered the body of 33-year-old Solomon Howard slumped in a wrecked orange Land Rover on the ramp to the Downtown Connector. They shut down I-20 East to investigate about 5:20 a.m., creating problems for early morning commuters headed into the city.

It was the third time since the start of the year a deadly shooting investigation has blocked an Atlanta interstate. Atlanta police Capt. Jason Smith said the killings were not connected.

“It’s kind of an anomaly as to what has happened recently, as far as on the highway itself, but we do not believe they are related,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the scene of Thursday’s shooting.

Investigators believe Howard drove for some time after being shot before crashing into a median wall. A passerby called 911 to report the wreck, according to Smith.

“We know he was driving and ended up hitting a median wall, and then rode the wall for a little while and came into the area of rest,” Smith said.

While the shooting is still under investigation, Smith said evidence suggests no shots were fired on the interstate. Investigators found no evidence to suggest suicide or road rage, either.

“Preliminarily we don’t believe this happened on the highway. I can’t comment specifically on what we believe to have happened,” he said.



During the investigation, eastbound traffic was forced off I-20 onto the Downtown Connector. There were major delays on the Westside, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

The interstate reopened after authorities cleared the scene about 8:45 a.m., leaving behind only slight delays.

On Jan. 15, police closed the westbound lanes of I-20 after a car wrecked into a guardrail near Capitol Avenue. Its driver, 32-year-old Ernesto Anderson, was shot in the head and later died at a hospital. The investigation lasted nearly three hours but cleared before the start of the evening rush.

Another deadly shooting Feb. 10 prompted a shutdown on I-85 in Midtown just as the morning commute was getting underway. An off-duty Jonesboro police officer discovered two men shot inside a wrecked sedan near the entrance to I-75 North about 5:15 a.m. One of the men was dead at the scene, and the other was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Neither was identified.

All southbound lanes were shut down for about four hours as police investigated, prompting massive traffic delays in Midtown, Buckhead and all through the northern suburbs.

Police are asking anyone with information about the latest shooting to contact the department’s homicide unit. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.

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