Police: Unclear what led to shots fired on I-81 in Cortland County

PREBLE, N.Y. — Investigators are still working to determine a motive behind a car chase and drive-by shooting on Interstate 81 in Preble early Wednesday morning that sent a Syracuse-area man to the hospital.

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In the early morning hours Wednesday, police responded to a 911 report of shots fired from a vehicle traveling south on I-81 in Preble, near exit 12, according to New York State Police Spokesperson Nathan Riegal.

Three men riding in a black Honda CRV were shot at from another vehicle, Riegal said in a phone interview Thursday. The CRV left the highway at Exit 10 and traveled south on State Route 41 for several miles before crashing in a yard in the village of McGraw, he said. Several bullet holes were found on the vehicle.

The three men in the CRV were all from the Syracuse area, Riegal said, though he could not say whether they lived in the city of Syracuse or in one of its suburbs.

One of the passengers in the CRV was struck in the hand by a bullet coming from the unidentified vehicle, he said. He was transported to Cortland Regional Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Riegal said the name of the shooting victim would not be released pending a police investigation. He also declined to release the victim’s age, saying only that it was an adult male from the Syracuse area.

"The investigation is in the beginning stages," Riegal said Thursday. "The victims are being cooperative, but that is all we have at this point."

Despite their cooperation, Riegal said investigators have been unable to get a description of the other vehicle or how many people may have been traveling in that vehicle. It's also unclear if the victims knew who was in the other vehicle, he said.

The Cortland County Sheriff’s Department and the Homer Police Department also responded to the incident, though state police are overseeing the investigation, Riegal said.

Any updates on the investigation will only be made public if police gather a description of the other vehicle, or if an arrest is made, he said.

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