A Lyft driver pulled a gun on a pedicab driver and threatened to kill her early Saturday morning after an argument in which she kicked his car near the Rainey Street entertainment district, the pedicabber told police.
Austin Police arrested Robert Henderson Rush, 58, on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — though the weapon they found in his car turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun.
Pedicab cyclist Brandy Tribble called 911 just after 1:30 a.m., as Friday night bar-goers were approaching last call. The altercation occurred after Rush, a Lyft driver in a gray SUV, nearly hit her, according to a police affidavit. Angry, Tribble began yelling at Rush and kicked his car when he stopped at Red River and Davis streets.
That’s when Rush rolled down the window, pointed a black handgun toward Tribble’s head and said: “I will kill you,” the affidavit says. Tribble fell to the ground and ran away, believing the gun was real.
Nearby officers arrested Rush, who told them he was angry she kicked his car and wanted to scare her off, according to the affidavit. Police found a black, gas-powered Beretta BB gun with a tactical laser pointer, loaded with metal BBs.
“Mr. Rush’s bb gun is capable of causing serious bodily injury and/or death as clearly imprinted on the side of the bb gun,” the affidavit says. “Ms. Tribble was in imminent fear of her life and safety as she believed the bb gun to be real and capable of killing her.”
Reached via Facebook, Tribble said Rush had a lit-up Lyft sign mounted on his dashboard at the time of the incident. The company issued a statement Saturday evening saying Rush has been removed from the Lyft platform.
“This type of behavior is completely unacceptable,” the Lyft statement read. The company added that it has a strict “no weapons” policy that prohibits any driver or passenger from carrying a weapon in a Lyft vehicle, even if it is legal to possess that weapon.
Lyft recently resumed operations in Austin, after the Texas Legislature passed a bill overturning Austin city ride-hailing rules.
Uber and Lyft both left the city in 2016 because they did not want to comply with a city requirement to do fingerprint-based background checks on drivers. Public records indicate Rush had a drug-related felony arrest in 2000, which would not have kept him from driving-for-hire under either the former city rules or the state’s current ones.