CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A man who rammed a Charleston police cruiser and pointed a gun at officers should have never had a gun, Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper said.


Rodney Toler

Because of a previous record, Rodney Toler, 39, of Charleston, was a prohibitive person. But that prohibition didn’t stop Toler Sunday at around 7 a.m. on the Capital City’s West Side, Cooper said.

“He rams into a police car and points a weapon and then at several points during this foot pursuit he didn’t stop, he kept running, but he did tell the officers to shoot him and he put the gun to his head,” Cooper said.

The officers didn’t shoot Toler. Cooper said they showed great restraint.

“They were never in a position where they could have really stopped the threat without possibly endangering others…they were eventually able to take him into custody,” Cooper said during an appearance Monday on 580 Live with Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.

Toler is charged with wanton endangerment but there will be more charges, Cooper said.

Police are investigating a possible motive. It may have involved a prior relationship, according to Cooper.

“There was possibly an incident with an ex-girlfriend shortly before this incident. The officer saw the car coming and he knew it wasn’t going to stop,” Cooper said.

Officer Jacob Whittington was sitting in his cruiser at intersection of Beech and Garvin avenues. His cruiser absorbed the brunt of the collision and then went into a second cruiser. The officers were not injured, but Cooper said they could have been.

“He crashed into the police car and he pulls his own gun at the officer and the officer is just now able to reach down to his own holster because it happened so fast,” Cooper said.

Toler was surrounded at dropped the gun in the Red Oak Street area. He is being held on $25,000 bail in the South Central Regional Jail.

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