Community leaders, law enforcement warn residents to stay alert after 2 shootings on I-40 in less than a week

MEMPHIS, Tenn-- Less than a mile away from Interstate-40 and Austen Peay, Othman Sani makes electrical repairs to a broken light at a nearby gas station, but he says it's society that's actually broken when he hears of someone shooting a pregnant woman in a car.

"On the interstate, she should be helped rather than be shot. Personally, I think it's disgusting and it's very heartbreaking. Whoever must have done that is heartless," Sani said.

Friday night, the woman was riding along I-40 traveling west towards Austin Peay. Police say a group of men pulled up, rolled down the window of their dark-colored Impala and fired a shot, hitting the expectant mother. She had to be rushed to the hospital and was forced to make an emergency delivery.

LaDell Beamon is the president and founder of Heal The Hood, an organization that works to curb youth and gang violence in Memphis.

"When you think of a pregnant woman being shot, a child having an opportunity to come into this world that's totally innocent of anything occurring that's going on now. That's heartlessness," Beamon said.

Beamon says the community must get involved with police to help stop this type of violence.

"We have more influence than law enforcement. It's up to us as a community to see the situation and not turn a deaf ear to it or turn a blinded eye to it. So we have to do something," Beamon said.

There was a second shooting on I-40 soon after that.

A man told police he was driving near the Chelsea exit early Monday morning when two cars pulled up and sprayed his car with nine bullets. Fortunately, the driver is okay.

"We take this very seriously, and we want the public to take this very seriously," Lt. Bill Miller, Public Information Officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says the public must be alert at all times.

"We don't know of any known threats or cases linked to one another or a certain group or individuals being targeted by anyone. But anytime you're out and about, be mindful of your own safety," Miller said.

With random violence on the roadways, Othman Sani is turning to a higher power as thinks about the shooting victims and his community.

"What I do, personally, is pray all the time. You, yourself, everybody needs to pray," Sani said.

So far, no arrests have been made in either caseĀ  and a motive isn't known.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (901)-528-CASH.