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Miami Twp. police still seek motive, suspects behind deadly daytime I-75 shooting

An investigator from the Warren County Coroner’s Office is responding to a shooting reported on I-75 south near Austin Boulevard. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF
An investigator from the Warren County Coroner’s Office is responding to a shooting reported on I-75 south near Austin Boulevard. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

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More than 48 hours after a vehicle reportedly opened fire in broad daylight on Interstate 75 near Austin Landing, police continued their search for suspects and a motive in the shooting death of a West Carrollton man who was driving there shortly after noon.

Miami Twp. authorities have not ruled out any possibility, but investigators said the deadly encounter does not appear to be the result of road rage. They also said they are seeking the public’s help in gathering potential evidence.

“We are looking at all angles, and we are still trying to gather any information we can,” said Pat McCoy, Miami Twp. police public information officer.

James L. Brown CONTRIBUTED
James L. Brown CONTRIBUTED

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McCoy said authorities are actively investigating the Monday afternoon highway shooting that killed 64-year-old James L. Brown.

A warrant to search the vehicle Brown was driving was executed, McCoy said. That search warrant was returned and sealed in Miamisburg Municipal Court on Wednesday.

Explore911 caller says deadly I-75 shooting was a drive-by

Authorities are also continuing to ask the public to come forward if they were near the Austin Boulevard exit Monday afternoon about the time of the shooting.

“The investigation is ongoing and detectives are following every lead and looking into any information received,” said McCoy. “We are encouraging anyone who saw the shooting or if they have any information about the event to please contact us. We also want any truck driver who was on I-75 south between the 44 and 42 mileposts at the time of the shooting and they had a dash camera in their truck which was recording to please contact us as well.”

A K-9 crew searches the sides on I-75 south of Austin Blvd. after a shooting on the highway. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
A K-9 crew searches the sides on I-75 south of Austin Blvd. after a shooting on the highway. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Brown’s grandaughter, Ashley Stewart, told the Dayton Daily News that Brown and wife Evelyn were together for 40 years.

She also expressed disbelief about her grandfather’s homicide on social media and to other media, saying that her grandfather was someone who made other people happy and didn’t have an enemy.

“James Brown was a loving soul who will be missed dearly. He did not deserve what happened to him,” she wrote on a GoFundMe page created for his family.

She told media outlets that her grandfather ran a flea market booth at Monroe and that he may have been headed that way before the fatal shooting occurred.

She said her family needs justice for her grandfather.

Numerous policing agencies responded to the shooting. 911 callers described the shooting as a drive-by started by someone in a blue Jeep with a man shooting out the back. The shooting caused some motorists to swerve out of the way from the bullets.

The incident caused a busy part of the highway to close for several hours while police investigated, and the shutdown caused traffic to back up in the surrounding areas.

A 911 caller said the Jeep exited the highway just a few miles down the road but lost sight as it left. Middletown police detained three individuals later that day, but they were determined not to be involved in the shooting.

ExploreMan killed in I-75 south shooting identified

“The blue Jeep stopped in Middletown was not involved in the shooting,” McCoy told the Dayton Daily News. “There was only one person in that Jeep, and she was arrested on an unrelated outstanding traffic warrant. A second vehicle was stopped in Middletown that contained two people who were also later determined not involved. There were no arrests made.”

Southbound I-75 near Austin Landing was shut down for several hours after a fatal shooting. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Southbound I-75 near Austin Landing was shut down for several hours after a fatal shooting. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

McCoy said the individuals were stopped because the vehicles matched the description. They were cooperative with detectives, McCoy said, and detectives made the determination they weren’t involved.

“That happens in an investigation, especially when you get a lead and a vehicle may match a description, you have to chase down the lead and try to confirm it,” he said. “The investigators learned during the interview that it didn’t fit. It’s a process of elimination.”