Unresponsive man with ‘AK-style’ pistol in vehicle prompted Phoenix freeway closure

Aug 31, 2023, 7:47 AM

(AZ511 Photo)

(AZ511 Photo)

PHOENIX — An unresponsive man with a weapon inside of a vehicle on a Phoenix freeway prompted a closure Wednesday evening, authorities said.

The incident started around 5:45 p.m. when calls were received about a vehicle stopped in the second lane of northbound State Route 51 near McDowell Road, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in an email.

Callers said the driver appeared to be slumped in the front seat and not moving, DPS said.

A DPS trooper responded to the scene and found the driver unresponsive and in possession of an “AK-style” pistol in the passenger seat.

“Due to the driver’s unresponsiveness and the close proximity of the firearm, out of an abundance of caution, the trooper backed off and requested additional units,” DPS said.

Less-lethal methods were used in an attempt to get a response from the man, and while he began moving, he was not compliant with commands, DPS said.

The Phoenix Police Department Special Assignments Unit responded to the scene and assisted in creating a tactical plan.

As a result, the driver was removed from the vehicle and taken to the hospital for evaluation, prior to being booked, DPS said.

The freeway was closed in both directions for several hours while authorities investigated the incident.

“DPS would like to thank the Phoenix Police Department for their assistance in bringing this incident to a peaceful end,” DPS said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Middle class is shrinking, lower case is growing, Valley economist says...

Middle-class Americans may not be able to afford a home, Valley economist says

Why is the middle class shrinking? Is the U.S. economy growing? Valley economist Jim Rounds answered these questions on Monday.

1 hour ago

Peoria Arts and Culture Festival 2024...

Peoria Arts and Cultural Festival to bring food, games, activities and more this weekend

Celebrate art, culture, food, games and music this weekend at the family-friendly Peoria Arts and Cultural Festival.

1 hour ago

Side by side image of teacher and his quarters....

Avondale elementary school teacher wins Bruce and Gaydos’ teacher tribute

A West Valley elementary school teacher was named KTAR News 92.3 FM's Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos' Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for January.

2 hours ago

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) leaves a House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill on April 27, ...

Kevin Stone

Rep. Debbie Lesko excited about her future in Arizona, frustrated with Washington politics

U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko said she’s excited about the next chapter of her Arizona political career while expressing frustration about her tenure in Washington.

2 hours ago

Andrew Enriquez, 22, was arrested Thursday after allegedly shooting and killing 31-year-old Michael...

Suspect accused of fatally shooting man in Glendale after drug deal dispute

A suspect was arrested several days after allegedly fatally shooting a man in Glendale following a drug deal dispute, authorities said Monday.

10 hours ago

Dr. Elda Luna-Nájera to replace Leezah Sun's legislative seat...

Serena O'Sullivan

Elda Luna-Nájera will fill Leezah Sun’s vacant seat in Arizona House of Representatives

Elda Luna-Nájera will replace Leezah Sun as the representative of Arizona's Legislative District 22, which is in the West Valley.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Unresponsive man with ‘AK-style’ pistol in vehicle prompted Phoenix freeway closure