If you want to know how quickly a police stop can turn potentially deadly, all you have to do is look at what happened to a Florida deputy who pulled over a guy because of his tinted windows.
On Saturday, Deputy Aaron Blais of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida pulled over Rocky Money Rudolph Jr. The stop was over illegally tinted windows on Rudolph’s Cadillac Escalade.
Things began innocently enough; Blais told Rudolph that his was “the best name I’ve seen” during his 14 years on the job.
However, things took a turn when Blais smelled marijuana.
Rudolph insisted that he was only smoking a Black & Mild, a brand of pipe tobacco cigar.
Things began to turn ugly as the stop went on. Rudolph turned incensed as Blais asked him about the smell of marijuana, even though he doesn’t seem to be concerned about “personal use.”
When Blais asked Rudolph to turn off the car, Rudolph refused; he also ignored a command to show his hands, insisting that he didn’t have marijuana. Blais grabbed the seatbelt Rudolph was wearing, which caused Rudolph to begin moving the car.
The deputy drew his firearm: “Put your hands up! Put your f—ing hands up!” he tells Rudolph.
As you can see from the video, Rudolph begins to drive off in earnest while grabbing for the deputy’s weapon. He pulled Blais by his gun arm, dragging him along as he tried to snatch the firearm.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language and images that some viewers may find offensive.
“Rudolph temporarily stopped the vehicle, but continued to ignore the commands to show his hands and to put his vehicle in park,” a press release from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office read. “Rudolph again repeatedly reached for the deputy’s gun while again accelerating on to the I-4 west-bound on-ramp into traffic, further endangering his life. Deputy Blais then fired his service weapon in an attempt to avoid being seriously injured or killed.”
WANTED SUSPECT: Identified as ROCKY M RUDOLPH JR of Apopka. Please Call 911 if you know is whereabouts or have information. pic.twitter.com/p6GOK3pH7z
— Seminole County S.O. (@SeminoleSO) June 29, 2019
Rudolph eventually sped off, though he was hit in the leg by one of the bullets. He was taken into custody by police in another vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m. that day by the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The 38-year-old resident of Apopka, who is a convicted felon, is currently being held without bond on charges that include first-degree attempted murder of a police officer and aggravated assault.
The Sheriff’s Office also said that Rudolph was seen tossing a firearm into the bushes as he escaped, and another weapon was discovered in the abandoned Escalade. Officers released the video of the encounter on social media in “the spirit of transparency,” CBS News reported.
This is how quickly a traffic stop can turn into a potentially deadly situation. This was originally over tinted windows and then the officer smelled marijuana. Soon, he was in a situation where he was literally holding on for dear life. If Rudolph had succeeded in getting the officer’s weapon, who knows how this would have ended.
“I don’t know how many rounds were fired into the car,” Sheriff Dennis Lemma said, “but it was probably not enough.” At the very least, however, Rudolph didn’t get a round off in the other direction — and that’s what made all the difference.
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