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UPDATE: Man pulled a gun during road rage incident, police say

Crime Watch

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Christopher Vargas Marinez | Idaho Falls Police Department

UPDATE:

The Idaho Falls Police Department issued an update on this case Wednesday evening. Police spokeswoman Jessica Clements clarified the case is still under investigation and official charges have not been filed. Christopher Vargas Martinez, who was arrested following this incident has told police he was acting in self-defense.

ORIGINAL STORY:

IDAHO FALLS — A road rage incident nearly turned deadly when one driver reportedly pulled a gun on the other.

Police reports show an Idaho Falls man was headed west on East Anderson Street shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday when someone began tailgating him. After trying to signal the person behind him to pass he eventually stopped. When he went to confront the other driver, Christopher Vargas Martinez, 20, stepped out of his truck and allegedly pointed a gun at the man.

“We ended up getting in front of Soapy’s Car Wash and I slowed down to the point that I stopped. This guy just started honking his horn at me and I honked back at him and then he started yelling and screaming at me,” the victim told EastIdahoNews.com.

He said he got out of his car to go tell Martinez to go around him.

“The guy just short-circuited and jumped out of his car and I jumped back because I thought that we were going to end up getting into a fight. And the guy pulled a gun on me,” the victim said.

He said the gun was pointed directly at his chest. When he saw the gun, he said his first thoughts were about his wife and kids.

“My first comment was ‘(wife’s name) he’s got a gun,'” he said.

Idaho Falls Police spokeswoman Jessica Clements said Martinez told investigators that he felt threatened and that he was acting in self-defense when he pulled his gun.

Martinez told EastIdahoNews.com that he did not wish to give a comment.

The event occurred in front of multiple witnesses, several of whom called police.

Clements said when officers arrived they ordered Martinez to get on the ground. The firearm was located in Martinez’s waistband and he admitted to pointing it at the other driver during the course of their argument, according to an IFPD news release.

Martinez complied with officers and was arrested for felony aggravated battery, Clements said.

“When we respond to a call like that, where emotions are high and there’s a weapon involved, there’s a higher response to that,” Clements said. “The officer approached Mr. Vargas with his firearm in a low ready position. He ordered him to get on the road in a face-down position and he complied without incident.”

Martinez was transported to the Bonneville County Jail and later released.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with additional details from law enforcement.

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