A Pennsylvania couple seriously injured two months ago while driving on Interstate 95 near the Richmond city limits were struck by shotgun pellets, possibly from a gunman who pulled up alongside them.
In an update on the strange case, Virginia State Police announced Tuesday that extensive analysis of metal material removed from one of the victims "confirms investigators' suspicions that the injuries were caused by a firearm."
Special Agent A.S. Witt, who is investigating the shooting, said in a statement that the collected metal fragments strongly suggest Thomas and Betty Doyle were shot at very close range, "possibly by a passenger in a vehicle traveling right beside them on I-95."
Police previously had not been able to say conclusively that they had been shot.
The couple, from the northern Philadelphia suburb of Ivyland, Pa., were headed south on I-95 about 11:30 p.m. Oct. 10 when the driver's-side window of their 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was shattered by shotgun pellets as they approached Chippenham Parkway, police said.
Thomas Doyle, who was driving, was struck and seriously injured. Pellets also struck his wife, causing her serious injury, police said.
Betty Doyle was able to take control of the vehicle and bring it safely to a stop on the right shoulder of I-95 just south of state Route 895 (Pocahontas Parkway).
Both victims initially were transported to VCU Medical Center and then transferred several weeks later to a Pennsylvania hospital.
"Metal fragments retrieved by doctors during surgery on one of the victims were submitted to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science in Richmond for testing and analysis," said Sgt. Thomas Molnar in a news release. "The lab was able to positively identify the metal material as shotgun pellets."
Because the couple is not able to provide any witness description of the vehicle, police are urging anyone who recalls seeing the Doyles' pickup truck that night or anything else out of the ordinary on I-95 during that stretch of the interstate to call them.
A reward of $10,000 is being offered by the Doyle family for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
Anyone with information can contact Witt at (804) 553-3408 or at email@example.com. ___