Quad Cities couple struck by bullet on I-80 near Atalissa truck stop shooting
CEDAR COUNTY, Iowa (CBS 2/ FOX 28) —
Pastor Allen Shuler is from Rock Island, Illinois and was traveling with his wife on Interstate 80 going eastbound when he said their car was hit by a bullet.
This happened on Thursday afternoon before police caught Charles Johnston, 60, the suspect who reportedly fired shots at a rest stop and then truck stop near Atalissa.Law enforcement charged Johnston with attempted murder and assault on a peace officer with a dangerous weapon.
Shuler says he and his wife were among some of the travelers on I-80, who were caught in the crossfires of gunshots before Johnston reached the rest stop or Atalissa exit. For them, the moment is still surreal.
"The round could’ve easily went through, and my wife was right there," said Shuler. "This is less than six inches from where she was sitting."
What was going to be a trip to Minnesota for his wife's doctors appointment, ended when the bullet struck their car. He said it happened past mile marker 271. He and his wife kept stopping on the side of the road to clean their windshield during the ride.
"I was getting ready to make another stop, [and] then I saw a vehicle underneath the bridge," he said. "I was going to get out and start there, but I didn’t."
Shuler and his wife continued past the bridge until they heard what sounded like an explosion.
They thought it was their tire, so they slowed down and got out of the car. But, then they saw the bullet hole on their passenger door. "Once I saw we had been shot, I got back in the vehicle and called 911," he said.
He said the car looked like a black Jetta underneath the bridge, the same one seen at the nearby rest stop and truck stop near Atalissa.
Shuler and his wife went to the rest stop shortly after. "I look down behind my vehicle where I was parked and there were bullet shells on the ground, so he had already been at that spot before my wife and I had got there," he said. "Right then and there it was like, 'whoa this is very serious'."
Shuler said he and his wife are still recovering from what could have been a deadly situation.
"She was numb…been numb kind of all day. Right now she’s just been kind of mulling it over," he said. He said he thanks God for saving his wife and others caught in the middle of this shooting."
In the middle of all of this one we didn’t get hurt, [but] out of all of this that took place, no one got hurt," said Shuler. "That's the miracle in of all of this." Shuler said his church planned an active shooter training for Saturday in response to recent shootings in other parts of the United States.
Since Thursday's incident, he said this is a reminder that it is important to stay prepared because tragedy can happen anywhere. The active shooter training will be at the Olivet Baptist Church at noon.