Local News

Trooper tackles man who walked into middle of I-40, threatened to use gun

Posted February 24, 2020 5:14 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2020 7:06 p.m. EST

— State Highway Patrol troopers surrounded a man and took him into custody Monday morning after he walked into rush-hour traffic on Interstate 40 and threatened to pull out a gun.

While patrolling eastbound I-40 near Airport Boulevard at about 7 a.m., a trooper saw a man walking along the shoulder of the highway throw a large bag into the path of his cruiser, authorities said. The trooper was able to avoid hitting the bag and stopped his cruiser to question the man.

The man, later identified as John Avery Rodriguez, made threats that he was armed and ran onto the highway, forcing troopers to halt traffic in both directions, authorities said.

Troopers surrounded Rodriguez and fired pepper spray rounds at him before one trooper tackled him from behind.

"Amazingly it all kind of walked and headed my way," said Kevin Kamins, who captured the incident on cellphone video.

Kamins said he had just dropped his daughter off at Cardinal Gibbons High School and was heading to work in Durham when he became stuck in traffic a few lanes away from where Rodriguez stood yelling at the troopers that he was going to take out a weapon.

"They stopped traffic. I saw automatic weapons come out, and then we saw someone walking by themselves in the eastbound I-40 lane," Kamins said. "I heard him reference 'Don’t make me go for my weapon,' and I’m like, no, I don’t want to see this today."

No injuries were reported from the encounter, and Rodriguez was taken by EMS to WakeMed in Raleigh for an evaluation.

"I thought the troopers showed remarkable restraint in trying to take him down and surrounding him and keeping all of us safe and kind of away from it," Kamins said. "It was amazing. You could tell how well organized [the troopers were]. They were talking to to each other all the time and obviously yelling at the suspect to get down."

Rodriguez, 34, of Raleigh, was charged with resisting, obstructing or delaying a public officer.

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