If it seems like people are angrier on the roads these days than they were before the pandemic, you’re not imagining things. From Indianapolis to Austin, Texas, cities and states are reporting an increase in road rage incidents, with many of them resulting in injuries or even death.
On Sunday morning, the Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Department got a call about a shooting on the Eastex Freeway near Houston. In fact, the person making the call was the shooter himself, and he told police that he was forced to act in self-defense when another driver threatened his life.
HSCO Lt. Paul Bruce said it appears the two men were driving in the area when one person cut off the other. He said the driver who was cut off got out of his vehicle with a crowbar in hand.
That’s when the gunman fired once, and the other man started hitting the shooter’s truck with the crowbar, deputies said. Bruce said the shooter then fired at the man, grazing him in the forehead and hand.
The shooter then left the scene fearing for his life, and according to deputies, called 911 when he was a few blocks away.
Responding deputies found the injured man and took him to a local hospital for treatment. While the armed citizen is reported to be cooperating with authorities, police are “having a bit of trouble with the injured man,” according to KHOU-TV.
While the investigation continues, it sure sounds at this point like the driver who fired shots was in legitimate fear of his life and wasn’t the instigator of any violence. Yes, he may have cut off the other guy in traffic, but that’s no justification for threatening someone with a crowbar. Now the man is not only recovering from his injuries, but could very well face charges for being the initial aggressor here.
Meanwhile, police in the Houston area are also investigating the shooting of a wanted man on Monday night, and this too may turn out to be a case of self-defense.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted that a “fugitive recovery agent (bounty hunter)” was searching for a person wanted for felony domestic violence who attempted to flee in a vehicle at an apartment complex in Houston and “may have attempted to strike the agent.”
“The agent [bounty hunter] fired a weapon striking the subject,” Gonzalez wrote. “The subject was pronounced deceased on scene.”
The bounty hunter had found the man driving in the apartment complex’s parking lot and he blocked in the vehicle as it pulled up to a locked exit gate, the sheriff said.
The bounty hunter got out of his car, pointed a gun at the wanted man, and fired into the vehicle as it drove in reverse, according to Gonzalez.
While investigators say they’ll present their findings to a grand jury, the bounty hunter has not been arrested and is not currently facing any charges in connection with the shooting.
The world can be a dangerous place, and you don’t have to be a bounty hunter looking for wanted men to run into trouble. Even a quiet Sunday morning drive can turn into a life-or-death struggle within seconds. Be safe out there, try to de-escalate any situation involving an aggressive or angry driver (including simply driving away if possible), but don’t be unprotected. It’s far better to have a gun and not need it than to find yourself unarmed and unable to defend yourself from an out-of-control assailant on the interstate or city streets.