The man who threatened to shoot himself during a four-hour armed standoff with police later said he didn’t stop during a pursuit because he has post-traumatic stress disorder and feels anxious around police, according to court documents.
Police began pursuing 54-year-old Timothy John Rourke after a man saw his father’s stolen pickup truck at Heartwood Resources on Old Highway 99 around 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The caller, Mitch Hamilton, said his father’s white and turquoise pickup had been stolen about a month ago.
An employee at Heartwood Resources told police he was helping Rourke load a cabinet into the truck when several people approached Rourke and confronted him about the stolen vehicle.
While Rourke was being confronted, he jumped into the truck and drove away, hitting the cabinet and an employee in the process. The employee sustained an injured finger and had a golf ball-sized knot on his hand, according to court documents.
Another employee told police that before Rourke took the car, he was in the bathroom for a while acting like he was on drugs, according to court documents.
After Rourke “squealed out,” Hamilton followed him to Myrtle Creek, but eventually lost sight of the truck near Roberts Creek Road on the way to Green.
A bystander told police Rourke had parked behind a home in the 500 block of Glengary Loop Road. When officers started to approach the truck, Rourke quickly reversed and sped around the back of the home, according to court documents.
Court documents also said an officer pointed his gun at Rourke, but Rourke drove around the officer. Police gave chase, reaching speeds of up to 90 mph.
Rourke swerved at a patrol car and the pursuit continued toward Green, according to court documents.
Police laid down spike strips near Hagle Lane and Roberts Creek Road and were able to deflate the truck’s two front tires.
Rourke continued driving, running a red light at the intersection of Carnes Road and Highway 42. But as his tires began to disintegrate, Rourke crashed into a concrete barrier at the end of Carnes Road and came to a stop shortly before noon.
Police quickly surrounded the vehicle, drew their weapons and asked Rourke to surrender. However, after police spotted a gun in Rourke’s hands, they backed away, according to court documents.
As officers continued to negotiate with Rourke, he put a black shotgun to his head or under his chin and threatened to shoot himself, according to court documents.
Rourke eventually got out of the truck around 4 p.m. and was taken into custody.
When police later interviewed Rourke, he said he bought the truck and the shotgun from a man in Winston. He said the truck didn’t come with a title, but it came with keys, according to court documents.
Rourke was charged with unauthorized motor vehicle use, stolen vehicle possession, attempting to elude a police officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, failing to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons, fourth-degree assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person and reckless driving.
In 2015, Rourke pleaded guilty to similar charges —two counts of attempting to elude a police officer, unauthorized vehicle use, reckless driving, and two counts of recklessly endangering another person — and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.