Driver Injured in Richmond Highway Sniper Shooting

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday July 04, 2006

An Oakland man was critically injured in an I-580 car crash as he tried to evade a gunman firing at his car from a Richmond freeway overpass minutes before midnight Sunday. 

Darrell Gospel, 22, was behind the wheel of a 1989 Buick Regal driving eastbound when his wife, Magdalena, also 22, saw a figure standing on the Regatta Boulevard overcrossing, said Richmond Police Lt. Mark Gagan. 

Accompanying them was their 11-month-old child. 

When the man began firing, Gospel lost control of his car as he tried to evade the bullets, striking a large commercial truck. 

“He rolled three times and was critically injured when his arm was crushed,” said Gagan “He was airlifted to a trauma center.” 

Gospel’s spouse and child were not hurt, Gagan said. While their car was struck by several bullets, none of the rounds struck an occupant—despite an account published in a local wire service. 

Both Richmond police and the California Highway Patrol responded to the crime scene when they were notified of the shooting moments later, and were unable to identify a suspect—though shell casings were recovered form the overpass. 

“Because of the volume of traffic at the time and the distance involved, we don’t believe these victims were specifically targeted,” Gagan said. 

The officer said he didn’t know if any other vehicles had been shot at, though no other reports had been received. 

Gagan declined to release the nature of the weapon used in the shooting. 

The lieutenant asked anyone with any possible information about the crime to call the Richmond Police Detective Division at 629-6160. 

Gospel remained in critical condition Monday following surgery to repair his arm, which had been nearly severed in the rollover.