A road rage incident that began with a motorcyclist stopping his bike on a busy interstate ended up with the 19-year old being shot and killed by an armed driver, and now the Fort Worth, Texas police are officially calling the shooting an act of self-defense.
Even as the first reports of the incident were unfolding last Friday, authorities didn’t refer to the 19-year old as a “victim,” and the evidence and eyewitness testimony that have come out in the days since have clearly portrayed JaDarek Gray as the aggressor.
After investigating, Fort Worth police say Gray caused the shooting that killed him. Police say he was traveling in between lanes, which is illegal in the state of Texas.
The driver of an SUV didn’t see him when trying to change lanes. Police say Gray then sped up ahead of the SUV driver, stopped the motorcycle in the middle of the highway and stopped traffic. He then pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the driver of the SUV.
“The driver of the SUV asked him to please put the gun down,” said Fort Worth Officer Tracy Carter.
That’s when police say the SUV driver, who said he had children in the car with him, pulled out his own gun and shot Gray.
Officer Tracy Carter says investigators believe Gray also fired his weapon but did not hit anyone.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner said Gray died from Multiple gunshot wounds.
What a tragic situation, and the worst part is that Gray would be alive today if he’d simply kept driving and muttered to himself about getting cut off in traffic. There was simply no reason for him to stop his bike on I-35 and try to seek revenge on the driver of the SUV. Even if that driver had intentionally been a jackass and cut him off from his lane change, that’s still no justification for escalating the situation as Gray did.
Now Gray is dead, his family and friends are mourning, and the driver of the SUV, the kids inside, and those who witnessed the event are all undoubtably still dealing with the traumatic events that unfolded on the busy freeway last Friday afternoon. Isel Valenzuela, who was also driving on I-35 when the incident unfolded, sounds like he’s still shaken up.
“I saw a motorcycle. A green motorcycle speed pass me up between me and the next car. Maybe 10-15 seconds later, I hear four gunshots,” he recalled. “I look over and I see him laying there. With blood all on his chest and his stomach.”
Valenzuela parked and ran over to help, noticing a green motorcycle parked on the freeway with the kickstand down about 30 feet behind Gray.
“I turned off the bike because it was still running,” he said.
Immediately, Valenzuela started putting pressure on the young man’s wounds. Minutes later, firefighters and paramedics arrived.
… Valenzuela is still trying to process what he saw.
“At the end of the day, he’s still a human being. I would have done it for anybody,” he said. “I don’t know how it went down, but it’s something that at the end of the day could have been avoided and they both could have made it home.”
Yep. But unfortunately, because Gray gave in to his rage he ended up on the wrong side of a defensive gun use.
I’m sure that everyone involved wish that Gray had made different and better choices last Friday, but at the same time, this case is another example of the fact that we can’t control the actions of others, nor are we responsible for them. The driver of the SUV couldn’t make JaDerek Gray keep driving, but he could ensure that he was in a position to protect his life and the lives of the kids in his vehicle. We might not be able to stop others from making bad decisions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to guard against those bad decisions having potentially fatal consequences for the rest of us.