Shocking footage from a vehicle's dash camera shows a driver pulling a handgun from his center console before firing nearly a dozen shots at a passing vehicle while traveling on a major highway.
The apparent road rage incident took place last summer in Miami-Dade County, Florida, WTVJ-TV reported on Friday. But video of the incident has only just surfaced in media reports after being released to police by the defendant as part of the investigation.
The video was reportedly first obtained by Miami-based radio host Andy Slater.
According to police reports filed at the time of the incident, 30-year-old Eric Popper of Deerfield Beach was traveling southbound on I-95 early in the morning on June 21, 2021, when he changed lanes and abruptly cut off another driver.
Then, after the other driver honked his horn, Popper allegedly shouted, "Oh, f*** off" and aggressively applied his brakes.
"The victim tailgated the defendant for a short time and made hand gestures out of his driver’s window. In the video, the defendant is seen retrieving a handgun from his center console and pointing it towards his driver’s door," the police report read, according to WFOR-TV.
"When the defendant begins to pass the victim on the right, the defendant points the handgun towards his right-front passenger door. As the victim passes the defendant, he throws and strikes the victim’s vehicle with an unknown object," the report added.
Popper is then seen firing eleven shots at the passing vehicle, striking it multiple times.
Dashcam video from inside driver's car shows him shooting during road rage incident www.youtube.com
Popper has claimed that he was acting in self-defense. In another dashcam video, he can be heard saying, "I was just shot at. My car was hit," adding, "I returned fire back at the individual."
But the victim reportedly claimed that he did not have a gun but rather threw a water bottle at Popper's vehicle. Amazingly, neither of the drivers was injured in the exchange. Both called police to report the incident after it occurred.
Popper voluntarily turned himself in to the Florida Highway Patrol in July but has since bonded out of custody, WLPG-TV reported. He is reportedly facing several felony charges, including aggressive assault with a firearm and shooting/throwing a deadly missile.
At the time of the incident, Popper worked as a civilian fire inspector with Miami Beach. He has since resigned from his position.
Popper's lawyer, Robert Gershman, confirmed the video to WTVJ and told the outlet he believes the footage exonerates his client.
"You hear a bang on Mr. Popper's car, akin to a gunshot, which precipitated the whole incident, so in this matter, the audio and video evidence we believe exonerates him," Gershman said.