Man accused of pulling gun during apparent road rage incident

Deputies: Rontress Caldwell pointed 'sawed-off shotgun' at woman, granddaughter

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Rontress Caldwell

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - What appeared to be a case of road rage has led to the arrest of a man who deputies said pointed a "sawed-off shotgun" at a woman and her granddaughter in the middle of the street. 

Rontress Davell Caldwell, 30, of St. Augustine, is charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and illegal possession of a short-barreled gun.

According to Caldwell's arrest report, the alleged assault happened Sunday evening. The incident began on State Road 207 and then carried over to State Road 312 near U.S. Highway 1.  

The report shows a woman told deputies that she and granddaughter were driving along S.R. 207 when she noticed a small car traveling too closely behind her, so she tapped her brakes to warn the driver behind her that she was about to come to a complete stop. The woman said after she stopped, a man with dreadlocks stopped and got out of the driver's side of the car. That's when, according to the report, the woman heard someone shout, "I'm going to blow your f****** brains out b****." The report stated the woman said she thought she saw a gun in his hand, so she made a right turn on S.R. 312 and continued driving. The report shows the woman said that as she was approaching Old Moultrie Road, a car pulled up and stopped.

"She's getting ready to make a turn. She's afraid he's going to run into her, so she taps her brakes once to say, 'Hey, I'm getting ready to turn.' As she makes the turn onto Moultrie Road, the car passes her, gets in front of her then stops, causing her to stop," said St. Johns County Sheriff's Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan. 

The same man then got out of the car with a "sawed-off shotgun," and pointed at her car before jumping back into his own car and heading south down Moultrie Road, the arrest report said.

"This individual put someone else in fear of their life," Mulligan said.

According to the arrest report, after the man drove off, the woman and her granddaughter picked up food at a nearby restaurant and decided to stop at Walmart to buy ice cream. The report stated that while the victim was looking for a parking spot, she came across the same car driven by the man and she and her granddaughter called 911. 

When a deputy arrived at the Walmart parking lot, according to the report, he made contact with the driver of the car, who the Sheriff's Office identified as Caldwell. The deputy said he questioned Caldwell about the incident. According to the report, Caldwell initially denied any involvement in the incident and then eventually told the deputy, the woman ran him off the road and he got angry. The report stated Caldwell told the deputy he pulled up next to the vehicle and showed his gun, but never pointed it at the vehicle.

After the deputy received a signed permission to search the car that Caldwell had been driving, the deputy said he found a sawed-off shotgun under the passenger seat and at least two shells in the center console cup holder. The deputy also seized a dashcam from the vehicle as evidence. It's not clear if video of the incident was recorded on that camera. 

The woman and her granddaughter later identified Caldwell as the suspect, according to the report,

Caldwell was arrested at the scene. According to St. Johns County jail records, he was released Monday night on $5,000 bond. 

News of the apparent road rage incident comes on the heels of what appeared to be a road rage incident in Jacksonville that was caught on camera. That incident happened in the middle of Atlantic Boulevard near the intersection of Monument Road. Cellphone video captured two men arguing outside their vehicles in stopped traffic when one of the men punched the other in the face. No arrest was made in that incident. 

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