Seminole County, FL – An armed convicted felon is facing an attempted murder charge, after he dragged a Seminole County deputy with his vehicle while grabbing for the deputy’s duty weapon (video below).
The harrowing altercation occurred at approximately 10 a.m. on Saturday, after Seminole County Deputy Aaron Blais stopped 38-year-old career criminal Rocky Rudolph Jr. for a window tint violation, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Deputy Blais smelled the odor of marijuana coming from Rudolph’s vehicle during the stop, so he asked him if he had a medical marijuana card.
Rudolph admitted that he did not, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma told reporters on Saturday.
The deputy then asked Rudolph to turn off the vehicle, but he refused.
The situation escalated when the convicted felon put his SUV into drive, bodycam and dashcam footage showed.
“Stop! Stop!” Deputy Blais ordered repeatedly, as he clung onto the driver’s side of Rudolph’s vehicle.
The suspect drove approximately 20 feet while dragging the deputy down an interstate on-ramp, Sheriff Lemma said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
When he stopped the SUV a moment later, Deputy Blais drew his duty weapon and screamed at Rudolph to put the vehicle into park and to show his hands, bodycam footage showed.
“I didn’t do anything!” Rudolph wailed.
Deputy Blais radioed for backup as the suspect grew increasingly frantic and agitated.
He continued to hold him at gunpoint, and repeatedly ordered him to show his hands.
Rudolph then snapped his left arm out the open window, and attempted to grab the deputy’s duty weapon, the video showed.
Deputy Blais held his gun out of Rudolph’s reach and attempted to jump onto the running boards of the suspect’s SUV as the suspect stomped on the gas yet again.
According to Sheriff Lemma, Rudolph used one hand to hold onto the deputy as he dragged him approximately 100 yards further down the interstate on-ramp, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
While he was being dragged, Deputy Blais fired several rounds into Rudolph’s vehicle.
“I don’t know how many rounds were fired into the car, but it was probably not enough,” Sheriff Lemma said.
Rudolph then jerked the SUV to the right, sending Deputy Blais flying into the median, before he fled the scene.
The suspect’s vehicle “spun out” a short while later, so Rudolph bailed out and took off running, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Witnesses spotted him tossing a gun into the bushes as he fled.
Approximately eight hours later, a Belle Isle police officer saw a man matching Rudolph’s description run out of the woods and jump into a vehicle.
Police converged on the vehicle – which was being driven by the suspect’s daughter – and placed Rudolph under arrest, WESH reported.
The suspect had a gunshot wound to his leg from the earlier altercation with Deputy Blais, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Deputy Blais was also transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released, Sheriff Lemma told the Orlando Sentinel.
Investigators located one firearm inside the car Rudolph’s daughter was driving, and also recovered the gun witnesses saw him toss into the bushes, WESH reported.
Sheriff Lemma said that Rudolph has 15 prior felony convictions, as well as eight misdemeanor convictions.
He has been charged with over 32 felonies in his lifetime, according to WFTV.
“This is a bad dude, who almost killed one of our sheriff's deputies on the side of the road," Sheriff Lemma noted.
Rudolph now faces a multitude of new offenses, including aggravated assault and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, the sheriff told the Orlando Sentinel.
You can watch bodycam and dashcam footage of Deputy Blais’ encounter with Rudolph in the video below: