Kansas City - An armed trucker whose hours-long standoff at a Missouri rest stop snarled a freeway's traffic for kilometres heading into the holiday weekend, has been charged with making a terrorist threat with what turned out to be a pellet gun.
Platte County prosecutors charged 25-year-old Khurshed Haydarov on Saturday with the felony, a day after the disturbance along Interstate 29 north of Kansas City.
Haydarov required a Russian interpreter during a brief court appearance on Tuesday. Authorities said he lives in Philadelphia but says he's from Uzbekistan and speaks little English. A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Haydarov's behalf and scheduled a January 3 hearing to decide whether his $100 000 bond can be reduced, online court records show.
Witnesses reported that a man was pointing a long gun from the cab of a tractor-trailer parked at a rest stop on Friday morning, "tracking" passing freeway vehicles with the weapon's barrel, Nancy Penrod of the Platte County Sheriff's Office wrote in a probable cause statement.
Deputies found the truck and saw a man emerge onto its running board, then urinate before re-entering the cab, Penrod said. Seconds later, a deputy saw what appeared to be a shotgun repeatedly being pointed out of the truck's driver's window at passing cars. No shots were fired.
The freeway was ordered closed in both directions near the rest stop, and an ensuing four-hour standoff ended when authorities breached one of the truck's windows and arrested Haydarov, Penrod wrote.
The gun later was identified as a pellet gun with the orange safety tip removed from its barrel, according to Penrod.
Haydarov appeared disoriented, admitted the gun was his and was found to have a blood-alcohol level below Missouri's legal threshold for intoxication, Penrod wrote.
The affidavit does not say if Haydarov was tested for drugs and offers no insight into his motivation in the incident.