Tesla video helps APD arrest man who waved gun at driver during road rage incident

Austin police said video captured by a Tesla led to the arrest of a man who waved a gun at a man during a road rage incident in downtown Austin earlier this month. The technology is helping investigators catch criminals quickly.

"Videos don’t lie. People do," Austin Police Department Cpl. Jose Mendez said.

Cpl. Mendez said more video devices are helping investigations.

"They are extremely crucial in aiding our investigators," Cpl. Medez said.

He said dash camera video is especially helpful during interactions between drivers on the roads.

"It’s hard to contest something that’s been recorded on camera," Cpl. Mendez said.


An incident from June 2 was caught on camera. Court documents said a Tesla driver, working for Lyft, picked up two passengers from a bar on South Congress. The driver said he was heading to the Rainey Street District to drop them off when he came upon a group of about eight cars driving recklessly on the road. 

The Tesla driver said while driving on the Congress bridge, a Chevy pickup truck began driving alongside his car, matching its speed. Video from the Tesla showed when the driver of the Tesla slowed down to turn onto Cesar Chavez Street, the passenger of the pickup leaned out of the window and waved a gun at them multiple times. The Tesla driver said he felt he was in immediate danger.

"A lot of these road rage incidents now are rising to aggravated assaults where people are, pointing firearms, shooting at people based on somebody's driving behavior," Cpl. Mendez said.

The Tesla driver said other cars in the group then blocked him in on the road and yelled at him. The driver of the pickup truck then got out of his truck, threw a cup of soda at the Tesla, then went looking in his truck bed toolbox. The driver of the Tesla said he believed he was looking for a metal tool to throw at them, so he ran over some plastic bollards to get away. The driver flagged down an APD officer who reviewed video captured by the Tesla.

"We’re able to take video, kind of get it formulated into a way that we can broadcast it. Right then and there. And that helps us kind of go after these individuals that are responsible for committing these acts of violence," Cpl. Mendez said.

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42-year-old Shaun Johnson

Within 20 minutes, police tracked the truck down and found a gun in the truck bed. Police said when they made the stop, uncooperative bystanders surrounded them and ignored officers’ commands to move back while they investigated. Court documents said they were aggressive, yelling, one female even slapped an officer’s arm. Police arrested three people for interference with public duties: 42-year-old Shaun Johnson, 38-year-old Jasmine Cavalier, and 34-year-old Tyquise Rogers.

The passenger who was seen on video pointing a gun at the victims is identified as 21-year-old Richard Vallejo. He is charged with second degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

Richard Vallejo, 21

This isn’t his first brush with the law. Vallejo was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2022, but the case was dismissed. Vallejo has a hearing for this most recent charge on July 3.

Police said if you find yourself in a road rage incident, try to remove yourself from the situation, don’t make eye contact with the other person, and if someone is engaging in aggressive behavior, call 911.