A tow-truck driver was shaken up but not hurt after another motorist shot at him several times as he drove down Interstate 35E in St. Paul early Tuesday, the State Patrol said.

The shooter used a handgun to fire as many as seven shots at the victim as the two rolled past University Avenue just north of downtown around 2 a.m. One of the bullets hit the rear of the tow truck driver's side door, but missed the driver, the patrol said.

The tow truck driver had been at a stoplight at I-35E and Wheelock Parkway when a man approached his vehicle and started yelling and shouting at him, said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the patrol. The tow truck driver did not engage with the man and drove off. As he turned onto southbound I-35E, the man got back into his vehicle and followed, Nielson said.

It was in the area of University Avenue that bullets started to fly, Nielson said.

The victim was able to exit the freeway and pulled into the Regions Hospital parking lot and called police. He did not need medical attention, Nielson noted.

Investigators are working to learn what led to the incident. They also are looking for the gunman who is described as a black male in his mid-20s, approximately 5 feet 8 inches with shoulder-length dreadlocks. The suspect was reportedly driving a white 2000s Dodge or Chrysler minivan.

Nielson said the victim did not recognize the suspect.

The incident comes as the patrol has "seen a noticeable increase in these types of calls," Nielson said.

Investigators are still looking into another high-profile freeway shooting from March 30. On that morning, somebody fired shots at a vehicle on I-694 near Century Avenue around 8:30 a.m. and shattered the back window. Nobody was injured in that shooting. A suspect was questioned but no arrests have been made, the patrol said.

Anyone with information about Tuesday's incident is asked to contact the State Patrol at 651-582-1509.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768