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.

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