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‘Agitated’ man pointed gun at driver, not realizing he was a Florida police officer, cops say

A suspected case of road rage took an unexpected turn when the victim turned out to be a cold-blooded state trooper, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

It happened Sunday, Oct. 29, shortly before 4 p.m., on Polk Parkway in the Lakeland area, and the officer was off-duty and with his family, the Highway Patrol said in a news release. Lakeland is about 35 miles northeast of Tampa.

“Caught in slow-moving traffic, a driver of a red Chevrolet pickup truck became agitated and began to focus his attention on the officer,” the highway patrol said.

“As traffic cleared, the suspect drove alongside the officer’s vehicle, speeding up and slowing down, shouting and making hand gestures. The officer ignored the suspect; however, the suspect slowed down again and displayed a compact style firearm, eventually pointing the gun at the officer.

The officer, who was not identified, reported the encounter to the Florida Highway Patrol and a search was launched.

Investigators say the vehicle was eventually found at the 32-year-old driver’s home in Auburndale, about 11 miles east of Lakeland. He was identified as Matthew Timothy Reiter.

Reiter was arrested and troopers “located five different firearms,” officials said. He is charged with “three counts each of unlawful exhibition of a weapon and aggravated assault with a weapon,” officials said.

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