VIDEO: State Trooper Tackles Suspect During Rush-Hour Standoff On Interstate
Raleigh, NC – A North Carolina state trooper tackled a suspect to the ground in the middle of the interstate during rush-hour traffic on Monday morning after he threatened to pull a gun on troopers (video below).
The incident began at approximately 7 a.m. on Feb. 25 as a North Carolina state trooper was traveling eastbound on Interstate 40, WRAL reported.
As he neared Airport Boulevard, a pedestrian on the shoulder of the roadway suddenly tossed a large bag into the path of his patrol car.
The trooper, who managed to avoid hitting the bag, immediately pulled over to speak with the pedestrian.
But instead of stopping, the suspect warned the trooper that he had a gun and proceeded to run out into oncoming traffic, WRAL reported.
Additional troopers raced to the scene to block traffic in both directions.
Witness Kevin Kamins said he was headed to work when he came upon the standoff and got caught up in the gridlock.
"They stopped traffic. I saw automatic weapons come out, and then we saw someone walking by themselves in the eastbound I-40 lane," Kamins told WRAL. "I heard [the suspect] reference 'Don’t make me go for my weapon,' and I’m like, no, I don’t want to see this today."
Cellphone footage recorded by Kamins showed the suspect, later identified as 34-year-old John Avery Rodriguez, as the troopers surrounded him and fired less-lethal rounds at his legs, The New York Times reported.
The troopers repeatedly ordered Rodriguez to get onto the ground, but he would only crouch or kneel on the pavement for a moment before springing to his feet again, the video showed.
With multiple troopers closing in around him, Rodriguez crouched down yet at again, giving the trooper positioned behind him just enough time to run up and tackle him from behind.
The troopers immediately swarmed the suspect and took him into custody.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol did not confirm whether or not Rodriquez’s claims that he was armed were true, WRAL reported.
Rodriguez was transported to a local hospital for an evaluation, and was subsequently charged with delaying a public officer, obstructing, and resisting.
No bystanders or troopers were injured during the tense encounter.
"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 told WRAL. "It was amazing. You could tell how well organized [the troopers were]. They were talking to each other all the time and obviously yelling at the suspect to get down."
Watch cell phone footage of the troopers’ encounter with Rodriguez in the video below: