A scolding wave of a finger from one motorist drew the wave of a gun from another in a rolling traffic encounter in Eagan that police are classifying as road rage.
Now a 27-year-old West St. Paul man with a violent history is in jail and charged with two felonies.
Joshua T. Tipcke remains jailed Wednesday, one day after being charged in Dakota County District Court with terroristic threats and fifth-degree assault.
Eagan police detective Desiree Schroepfer said that while it’s tempting for one motorist to express displeasure at the driving misstep of another, it’s safer to just let it go, pull over and call 911 with a description of the vehicle, its license plate and the driver.
“Everybody makes mistakes [driving],” Schroepfer said Wednesday, “but if you are involved in an incident, try not to become too vested in it, and contact police. Try not to handle the situation yourself.”
According to the criminal complaint:
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. on April 1, a man was driving near Interstate 35E and Cliff Road, when Tipcke cut him off. The man honked and “pointed his finger in a scolding manner” at Tipcke.
That set Tipcke off, and he rooted around in his vehicle until his arm came up waving a handgun, then pointed it at his adversary as they both drove west on Cliff Road.
The man backed off but followed Tipcke to a nearby apartment complex in the 4500 block of Slater Road and called 911.
A woman at one of the apartments called police after she left and said Tipcke arrived with a gun tucked in his waistband. She said he showed up and pushed her as he walked in, saying police were after him.
Police contacted Tipcke, and he soon turned himself in. He admitted brandishing a BB gun during the confrontation with the other motorist. A search of the apartment turned up the BB gun in a jacket in a washing machine.
While BB guns are not as lethal as most other types of firearms, they do kill a handful of people every year in the United States and injure thousands more, according to federal data.
Tipcke’s criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for domestic assault and disorderly conduct.