For black men throughout the country, getting pulled over by the police is one of our biggest fears—if not our greatest source of anxiety. But to be charged with attempting to murder a police officer after what should’ve been a routine stop is something none of us could ever foresee coming.
WESH-2 reports that at approximately 9:30 a.m. on June 29, Rocky Rudolph Jr. was pulled over by Seminole County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Blais in Lake Mary, Fla., for an illegal window tint. Their interaction is initially jovial before everything goes left when Blais inquires about the scent of marijuana emanating from Rudolph’s vehicle. Acutely aware of the tension that’s infiltrated their light-hearted banter, Blais offers an ominous response: “There’s no need to be nervous, man.”
Blais then asks Rudolph to turn off his SUV, and that’s when the situation spirals into chaos. After Blais radios in for backup, Rudolph pleads his case before Blais grabs at Rudolph’s seatbelt, shoves a gun in his face, and demands Rudolph put his hands up—a complete overreaction, given the circumstances.
Rudolph is visibly frightened and almost on the brink of tears as the officer continues to demand that he put the SUV in park. That’s when Rudolph pushes the gun away and speeds off, dragging Blais approximately 100 yards before attempting to escape on foot.
Rudolph was detained eight hours later and was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot wound in his leg that he suffered during the incident. Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma confirmed Blais fired into the vehicle prior to falling off of it.
“This was a very dangerous situation,” Lemma said. “Our deputy could have been killed.”
CNN reports that Rudolph is being charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting an officer with violence. He is currently being held without bond in Seminole County Jail.
His court appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Monday.