Elias Joseph Rodriguez has been charged in Great Falls with three felonies and one misdemeanor after he allegedly fired a gun at a vehicle, and held a person under threat while committing a felony.
According to a police affidavit, police were dispatched to the area of Sixth Street Northwest and Fourth Avenue Northwest about 3:24 a.m. Sunday after people reported hearing gunshots. One person told dispatchers that he had been shot at while he was driving, and said that the suspect was following him in another vehicle.
A police officer spotted the suspect vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. The driver of the suspect vehicle drove away, but spun out on the icy road. Police say that a man - later identified as Rodriguez - got out of the vehicle and began running away, holding something in his hands near his waistband.
Court documents state that Rodriguez was quickly apprehended, and officers recovered a revolver that had been thrown onto a nearby roof; the revolver had five spent casings in the cylinder, according to the affidavit.
Police talked to the two people who were allegedly shot at; they told police that they were outside their apartment sitting in a vehicle when a light-colored SUV pulled up next to them. They said that a woman in the SUV asked them about a purse, and then two men got out of the SUV. One of the men then reportedly fired approximately five rounds at their vehicle; two of the rounds hit the vehicle.
The victims then drove away, called 911, and began heading toward the Great Falls Police Department. The driver of the suspect vehicle ("Jane Doe") told police that Rodriguez had come to a house that she was at and said he looking for a purse full of money. They apparently were able to track the purse to the area of the apartment building where the two other people were sitting in a vehicle.
Doe told police that Rodriguez made her drive to the area by threat of violence. Doe told police that Rodriguez then got out of the car and fired five rounds from a handgun that he had tucked in his waist-band. Doe said that Rodriguez then got back into the vehicle and ordered her to follow the two people as they drove away. Doe said that she did what she was told out of fear for her life.
The affidavit says that Rodriguez refused to answer any questions.
Prosecutors requested that bond for Rodriguez be set at $100,000, noting that he has a "lengthy criminal history," including violent offenses in Washington.
Rodriguez, 27, is charged with two felony counts of assault with a weapon; one felony count of aggravated kidnapping; and one misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer or other public servant.