MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman waiting in traffic with her children to see Christmas lights at the Memphis Zoo was shot Saturday night in an apparent fit of road rage, according to police.
It happened just before 7 p.m. Saturday at North Parkway and North McLean, as cars full of families were waiting to get inside the popular attraction.
“Heard some commotion outside – horns, honking and blaring,” said witness Walter Reynolds.
Reynolds’ home is a only few hundred feet from the intersection where it happened. He didn’t hear the gunshots, but his neighbor, Craig Bowie, did.
“I just heard this, ‘Bam! Bam! Bam!’ About four or five shots is what I thought,” he said.
Police say the woman was waiting in traffic with her three kids and two other adults when a car full of men tried to cut in line.
“With the traffic and whatnot, people getting a little ancy to get in here ‘cause it’s getting late and they wanted to get inside. So, we see that a lot with Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights,” Reynolds said.
The woman told police she and her family had been waiting a half hour to see the light display, so she rolled down her window to try to talk to the other driver, but he tried to cut in line again and hit her front fender. That’s when she said someone in the car started shooting.
“A neighbor down the street had come by, he had heard the shots and he went over there and talked to the police. And he said he saw four bullet holes and said a lady got shot in the hand or both hands,” Bowie said.
Witnesses describe hearing about 10 gunshots before the suspects sped off.
“I guess you never think it happens at your house and I’m just – thank God no bullets came in my house,” Bowie said. “But you’re just not safe out there and you’ve just gotta watch what’s going on now.”
The children weren’t hurt, but another woman in the van was.
Police say both she and the mom will be OK.
But witnesses and people who were waiting in line to see the festive display say the violence has ruined what’s supposed to be a family-friendly holiday event.
“You can’t relax. That’s supposed to be a relaxed time going to see Zoo Lights, kind of relax with your family, and you can’t,” Reynolds said.
One woman, who was also waiting in traffic to see the display with her husband, 1-month-old and 4-year-old said she bought advance tickets and wants a refund. She said she called the zoo after the shooting Saturday, but no one has called her back. She also said she’ll never go back to the event.
WREG asked zoo officials for comment and if they have any plans to make traffic or security changes, but they haven’t responded.
Police have only released a vague description of the suspects. They’re looking for three men who were driving a white, four-door Hyundai.
If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 528-CASH.