HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- Law enforcement officers across two counties say shooting incidents that targeted motorcyclists on I-45 North are not only linked but also have outlaw biker gang ties.
Three people were killed 40 miles apart at two different scenes Friday.
In the hours since the violent acts, both shootings are believed to be gang-related and connected to each other, authorities said.
First motorcyclists hit
Steve Cook, an expert in motorcycle gang investigations, said the shootings were a retaliatory attack following a deadly shooting in Oklahoma City earlier in April. The Bandidos were headed to Oklahoma City for the funerals, which created an opportunity for a rival gang, the Homietos, to strike, according to Cook.
"You had an incident in Madisonville, Texas, back in 2022 involving the Homietos shooting at some Bandido members. One of the victims of the homicides in Oklahoma City was actually involved in that shooting in Madisonville. This is just a continuation of that feud," Cook said.
Eyewitness News learned information about the first shooting at about 11:36 a.m. when the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office posted information on Facebook about a heavy police presence on I-45 northbound at Oakwood Drive in the Spring area, where at least one motorcyclist was shot.
The sheriff's office said it wasn't immediately clear where exactly the shooting happened but shared that the victim, a 32-year-old man, called 911 at 11:08 a.m.
The victim was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent "extensive medical efforts" but later died at 3:30 p.m., deputies said.
In an update, deputies clarified that a second motorcyclist was injured in the same incident from an apparent ricochet. That person's injuries were considered minor when he was brought to the hospital, where he left before officials could identify him.
Homicide, violent crimes, and gang task force detectives were assigned to investigate. Deputies didn't believe there was a danger to the public.
The sheriff's office also acknowledged a similar shooting just up the interstate in Walker County that ended up becoming deadly.
EARLIER REPORTING: 2 shooting scenes, 40 miles apart
Shooting near Sam Houston statue
Word of more bloodshed on the interstate came into the ABC13 newsroom at about 1:15 p.m. when Huntsville police also posted on Facebook about a scene unfolding on northbound I-45 around Clayton Homes.
Police said a call about the shooting came in at 12:18 p.m.
First responders, who included Texas DPS, Walker County sheriff's deputies, and Walker County EMS, tried to save two of the victims - 43- and 69-year-old men - who died at the scene. A 61-year-old man was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, police said.
Police added that the victims were all riding motorcycles and wearing clothing and insignia that indicated they were part of an outlaw motorcycle gang.
Investigators in this case believe it's related to the Montgomery County killings.
Katherine Peters Caldwell was driving her mother to Dallas and pulled over to help the lone shooting survivor at the scene in Huntsville.
She was one of about six to eight drivers who stopped when they noticed what they initially thought was a bad crash along the highway. One man was slumped over his bike about 100 feet in front of her car. When she got closer, she realized that a shooting had caused the motorcycle crashes.
The bullets flying across the highway spared only one biker. Caldwell said she's still trying to process the danger all the drivers were in and the fact that two people didn't survive.
"I'm sure it will bother me for a few days. Forever, even," she said, "The look in that man's eyes that was gone. I've never seen anything like that before. His eyes were wide open and empty."
Investigators in Walker and Montgomery Counties have not released any information about who may be responsible, but they said there is no threat to the public.