So far, investigators haven't found any shell casings and can't say what kind of weapon was used in a shooting Wednesday that damaged four cars.

Share story

Investigators returned Thursday to the area west of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where a gunman fired at cars on Highway 509 on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Detectives canvassed the neighborhood, looking for any video-surveillance footage and used metal detectors to search for shell casings in a tree line along the highway where they believe the gunman fired from, said Trooper Rick Johnson. As of Thursday afternoon, Johnson hadn’t heard of any new evidence being found.

“We’re thankful no one was injured. It’s remarkable none of these rounds hit anyone in the cars,” Johnson said.

Four cars were hit by gunfire as they traveled south on Highway 509 between South 160th Street and Des Moines Memorial Drive South just before 1:45 p.m., said Johnson. But detectives think the gunman hid among the trees on the east side of the highway, near the airport’s radar tower, which is south of South 168th Street, he said.

The Port of Seattle temporarily closed the airport’s western most runway as a precaution while the shooting was investigated Wednesday, Johnson confirmed.

Perry Cooper, a Port spokesman, said the runway was closed for a little over three hours but didn’t have any major impact on air traffic since the closure happened during a slow part of the day. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered a couple of ground holds for aircraft taking off from their originating airports, but those delays only lasted about 10 minutes, he said.

One round tore through a vehicle’s driver’s side door, traveled through the passenger compartment and exited out the passenger door, Johnson said.

“Obviously it’s something with velocity and power behind it,” he said of the unknown weapon used in the shooting.

Another round went through a different car’s door and was embedded in a seat.

“Basically, the round was destroyed so there’s no evidentiary value,” he said.

Asked if it’s likely the gunman picked up the expended shell casings, Johnson said, “There were shots fired. We know that. We know we haven’t found any casings. But that’s not something we can say right now.”

He also couldn’t say if the four vehicles were hit in rapid succession or if there were pauses between gunshots.

One of the bullets pierced the windshield of Mary Ertl’s car.

“I heard a boom and then glass all over my face,” Ertl told KOMO-TV on Wednesday. “I looked at the passenger side, and then I knew it was a bullet. So I slowed down, and called police.”

Both directions of Highway 509 were closed for a few hours before opening to traffic, first with restrictions before fully reopening around 8:30 p.m.

“We’re asking the public to rack their brains for anything suspicious in that area,” said Johnson, who encouraged anyone with information to call 911.