News and Society

Hoover Dam Shutdown, Man Barricades Himself in Armored Truck Demanding ‘Release the Report’

Officials Saturday remained unclear about the motives of an armed man who blocked traffic on the Hoover Dam and demanded the release of a report that had already been made public.

On Saturday, Matthew Phillip Wright, 30, of Henderson, Nevada, blocked traffic on the dam in what authorities described as a homemade armored vehicle, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

During the standoff, Wright held up a sign that read, “Release the OIG report.” On Thursday, the Department of Justice released a report from its Office of the Inspector General. The report was highly critical of the FBI’s conduct during its investigation into Hillary Clinton.

Some media accounts said Wright had more than one sign.

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Wright made no public statements.

The incident began around noon when Wright parked across the southbound lanes of the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River, closing traffic in both directions.

About an hour later, he drove into Arizona, and gave himself up after driving about four miles.

Wright had a rifle and handgun in his vehicle, CNN reported.

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Trooper Jason Buratczuk said officials were at first uncertain what they were facing.

“We’re in a tourist location and you hear someone possibly with a long rifle, I mean the scars are still, you know, pretty fresh from 1 October,” he said, according to KVVU, making reference to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that resulted in 59 deaths.

Truck driver Mark Mills, 34, was a witness to Saturday’s incident.

“I thought there was an accident or something,” he said, noting that several trucks had stopped ahead of him. As traffic began to crawl, he eventually passed Wright’s vehicle.

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“I wasn’t sure if he was trying to blow up the bridge or what,” he said, noting the armored vehicle blocked traffic just after he passed it.

“I feel lucky, thinking about it now. I was just happy to get by him,” he said.

Wright “surrendered peacefully,” Buratczuk said.

Chris Vasquez, traveling with his family, said they were concerned when they saw the barricades set up by police during the incident.

“The first thing that comes to mind is what happened in the shooting out here in Vegas. That’s the first thing. We come out here just to vacation, you know, and that’s kind of like ‘wow,’” Vasquez said.

Wright faces charges of terrorist acts, unlawful flight from law enforcement, carrying a weapon in the commission of a felony, and misconduct involving weapons. He also is charged with blocking a highway.

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