Motorist accused of shooting at deputy after towing dispute on Georgia interstate

Rafael Morey

ADEL, Ga. — A Florida man is accused of shooting at a deputy on Thursday after a dispute over towing on a South Georgia interstate escalated, authorities said.

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According to a news release from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Rafael Rodriguez Morey, 29, of Citrus Springs, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers.

At about 3:24 a.m. EDT, the sheriff’s office received reports of a man in the roadway near the mile 50 marker on Interstate 75, WALB-TV reported.

Deputies arriving at the scene encountered Morey behind the wheel of his Chevrolet Equinox, and the sheriff’s office said he was “uncooperative.”

Morey’s vehicle was out of gas and his battery was drained, so a tow truck was dispatched to the area, The Moultrie Observer reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, Morey allegedly refused to leave his vehicle, so he and his SUV were towed to a Circle K gas station in Adel near Exit 39.

The towing company added gas to the vehicle and Morey cooperated in getting the vehicle jump started, the sheriff’s office. But when presented with the bill, Morey allegedly refused to settle it despite several options.

Morey then reportedly attempted to drive his vehicle off the tow truck while it was still secured on the service vehicle.

Deputies and officers from the Adel Police Department arrived to assist, but Morey allegedly “became increasingly uncooperative and now combative,” the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect locked the door of his SUV and rolled up his windows. When officers forced their way into the vehicle, Morey allegedly produced a handgun and fired at the officers, the Observer reported.

One bullet passed through the pants leg of a deputy without hitting him, the sheriff’s office said. He was not injured.

Deputies said that Morey then put up his hands and dropped his pistol. He was arrested following a “brief struggle” and after a stun gun was used on him, WALB reported.

Morey then put his hands up, dropped his pistol and was arrested following a “brief struggle” and a taser being used by law enforcement. An off-duty police officer from Florida assisted in taking the suspect into custody, according to the Observer.

“Words cannot describe how thankful I am that no one was injured in this incident this morning,” Sheriff Doug Hanks said in a statement. “All the law enforcement on scene used their training, knowledge, and abilities perfectly to diffuse the situation and preserve the life of everyone, including the offender. I could not be prouder of the work they did this morning.”

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