The man who barricaded himself in a car Monday in front of the state Capitol said in a jailhouse interview Tuesday that the event was carefully planned to garner attention from the public and media.
Edgar Napoles Rodriguez, 27, told The Sacramento Bee that his “life was at risk” after falling victim to an insurance fraud scam. He said people were ready to kill him, adding that he resorted to the standoff after law enforcement rebuffed his earlier pleas for help. He did not specify who the people were or why they wanted to harm him.
What should I do when nobody helps you out? I don’t regret what I did. I hope to get something good out of this.
Edgar Napoles Rodriguez, explaining his standoff with law enforcement Monday at the Capitol
“I just wanted to draw attention,” said Napoles Rodriguez, who appeared excited and eager to talk to the media.
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He denied using drugs and repeatedly declared he was mentally sound.
Napoles Rodriguez surrendered peacefully to authorities late Monday afternoon after a standoff that shut down L Street and included the evacuation of nearby buildings. He is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail without bail and is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
He faces two charges in the incident, including making a bomb threat and resisting an officer.
Napoles Rodriguez denied that he had a bomb in the car, adding that he was unarmed. Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said investigators found a device in the trunk of the vehicle that resembled a bomb. Authorities have not established a motive in the case.
As he sat in his car, parked on L Street, Napoles Rodriguez posted several messages on Facebook, including a photograph of a signed letter from a police officer acquiescing to his demands. The Sacramento Police Department declined to comment on the authenticity of the letter.
One note read, “I (Officer) Hughes ... do swear to help Edgar Nopales (sic) in search of justice. Edgar will not be arrested for blocking the street. We will have Edgar talk to his kids.”
Napoles Rodriguez, who worked as a painter, said he entered the country illegally from Mexico in 2005 but soon married a U.S. citizen. He said he did not know whether he had legal residency status in the country.
Sacramento Superior Court records show a judge signed a restraining order against Napoles Rodriguez last week, prohibiting him from coming within 100 yards of his two roommates in their apartment on Fulton Avenue.
One roommate, Karla Garcia, told The Bee earlier that Napoles Rodriguez was angry at his estranged wife and had acted bizarrely, including putting a propane tank from a barbecue grill into their apartment’s oven and tearing down her orange curtains to make a flag.
Napoles Rodriguez denied the allegations, saying his roommate was also part of the plot against him.
Monday’s incident was Napoles Rodriguez’s second run-in with the law. Court records show he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery in a 2008 case involving a former partner.
When asked to elaborate on the alleged threats against him, Napoles Rodriguez described a conspiracy that would end in his death.
“What should I do when nobody helps you out?” he said. “I don’t regret what I did. I hope to get something good out of this.”
Finally, breaking into tears, Napoles Rodriguez said he also wanted to protect his children from the same unidentified people. He also said he would be willing to serve prison time for the incident as long as police looked into his claims.
“I love them,” he said of his son, 8, and daughter, 3. “I’m doing this for them.”