Stranded motorist grabs trooper's gun

Saturday, February 16th 2008, 11:15 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

A state trooper was forced Saturday to draw his gun on a stranded motorist.

Edvin Gonzales was taken into custody on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike near Newcastle after authorities say he grabbed a trooper's gun. Gonzalez was in the McClain County jail Saturday night, booked on complaints of public intoxication, resisting arrest and assault and battery on an officer.

Dale Fortune stopped to help Gonzales.

"He didn't speak English, and we don't' speak Spanish," Fortune said.

Still, the retired soldier invited the man to sit in his car until help arrived.

"He couldn't have been more polite," Fortune said.

That's why Fortune said he's shocked about what happened after Trooper Steve Mitchell arrived and placed the man in the back of a patrol car.

The trooper went back to talk to Fortune when he heard his car door open, Capt. Chris West said.

When the trooper turned around he saw the man standing there, armed with a gun found in the trooper's car, West said.

"They young man had apparently gotten from the back seat to the front seat of the patrol car and had found another weapon and had it in his hand," Fortune said.

There are no cages in OHP cars that separate the back and front seats. Investigators said the man never pointed the gun and threw it in a ditch after he saw the trooper draw his other gun.

Investigators were trying to find out what motive the man had when he grabbed the gun.