AUSTIN, Texas - Dash camera footage released to FOX 7 Austin shows the moment an off-duty Austin police officer pulled his gun on another driver after being rear-ended.
A memo from the Austin Police Department, released in November 2020 states that Officer Thomas Tuminelli was trying to get to work on time, averaging a speed of 96 mph.
Traveling southbound on I-35, Tuminelli can be seen in the video driving aggressively. It shows him cutting off other drivers and weaving in and out of traffic.
In the memo, it states he broke eight different traffic violations, some of which include: reckless driving, brake checking, speeding, crossing a solid white line, and tailgating.
A driver who was following the off-duty police officer caught Tuminelli on his own dashcam, including the time when the officer brake-checked him, causing the driver to rear-end him. As the driver rear-ended Tuminelli, the APD officer immediately got out of his own car - gun in hand.
You can see it in the video, the pistol is in his right hand, hanging next to his side.
For nearly the next minute, still with his gun in his hand, the two argued outside their cars before Tuminelli walked back, putting the gun away.
Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas says both drivers should have never let it get this out of hand. "You should never respond to another driver who is driving aggressively," he said. "That's only going to potentially escalate that situation. You want to avoid that driver. You want to stay as far away from that driver as possible."
Saying when in these situations, when you see aggressive driving or behaviors like this, the best and safest thing to do, is to pull back.
"It's our job as drivers to make sure that we remain emotionally aware, not to react to other drivers, aggressive behaviors, and to be good drivers ourselves," Armbruster said. "Be good defensive drivers, get away from situations. And, if you do encounter a driver who is being aggressive, remain calm."
For Tuminelli, in the memo, he says he pulled out his gun for safety reasons, "[T]his individual had possibly rear-ended me on purpose and I’m - I was unsure of his intentions or actions at that point," it stated.
Tuminelli was suspended for 60 days. That suspension ended January 9.
APD was unable to comment on what his duties look like now that he is back. But, Tuminelli does have to go through training that will be specified by his chain of command and is on a probationary period for one year.