YORKTOWN, Ind. – A Yorktown volunteer off-duty firefighter was charged after he reportedly impersonated a police officer and pointed a gun at a wanted man during a traffic stop that he didn’t have the authority to conduct.
Court documents stated a man getting “arrested” called in and stated that the officer that pulled him over had pointed a gun at him stating, “Don’t move or I’ll f**king shoot you.”
Police said they immediately knew after arriving on the scene that the “police officer” was an off-duty firefighter, identified as Derek J. Rains.
The officer observed Rains’ personally owned Chevy pickup parked behind the wanted man’s car with emergency white and red lights activated.
The man told police he was upset about Rains pointing a gun at him and voiced his displeasure with the situation. The officer assured that any “wrong-doing” by emergency personnel on the scene would be investigated.
The wanted man was then taken into police custody.
Following the arrest, officers began investigating the incident with Rains. Multiple officers reported that it looked as if Rains acted as a police officer when he wasn’t.
According to the probable cause, Rains told officers that he observed the man pull into a Yorktown gas station with damage to his vehicle. Rains stated when he was communicating to dispatch, he was made aware that the man was a suspect in a Madison County “hit-skip” [hit-and-run] investigation.
After Rains spoke to the man, the suspect reportedly fled the scene. Rains told police that he was a “special deputy” in Madison County. Rains also stated that he pointed his gun at the man when he exited his vehicle.
Investigators then seized Rains’ weapon pending investigation for evidence.
Officers said while observing surveillance video, the “wanted” man’s vehicle was seen smoking. Rains was then seen pulling up behind it. When the man returned to his vehicle, he had a short interaction with Rains and then left the parking lot.
Rains was then seen pulling out behind him and appeared to activate his emergency lights shortly after.
During a later interview, Rains confirmed he was trying to “help” the driver after seeing a significant amount of damage to the car while Rains was with his wife and adult child.
He stated his only intentions were to check to see if the driver needed assistance, pull behind the car and activate his lights so he would not get hit by passing vehicles.
He said he drew his weapon after dispatch advised the wanted man could’ve been in possession of a firearm.
Investigators said they found discrepancies with Rains’ explanation from when he turned on his emergency lights while thinking the wanted man almost hit several vehicles while leaving the Shell parking lot.
Video evidence didn’t support his claims, according to court documents.
When officers spoke to the wanted man, he acknowledged having a warrant from a 2021 case where he violated parole after pleading guilty to battery resulting in injury to a public safety officer, Level 5 felony.
He stated when he observed “red and blue lights” behind him, he immediately thought it was police and pulled over.
He told investigators that he complied with officers’ commands and only asked [Rains] “really” when Rains told him not to move or he’d be shot.
He maintained that he believed Rains was a police officer based on the lights, radio and weapon. He added that he believed Rains acted inappropriately by pointing the weapon and commands that Rains shouted at him.
An initial hearing was scheduled for Dec. 11 at 9 a.m.