Benician in custody after claiming he had bomb on bridge

A 54-year-old Benicia man was taken into custody late Saturday night after he stopped his truck on a southbound lane of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and claimed he had a bomb, according to the California Highway Patrol.

No explosive device was found, said Public Information Officer Brandon Correia, but Interstate-680 lanes were shut down for hours.

He identified the man as Rodney Brinkerhoff.

The incident started about 7:15 p.m. when the man parked his truck mid-span on the right shoulder of the southbound side of the bridge, Correia said.

The man called 9-1-1, saying he had a bomb and that he was going to jump off the bridge.

“Upon CHP arrival, we immediately shut down both sides of the bridge to minimize the danger, as public safety is our main concern,” Correia said in the CHP-issued statement.

While the northbound side of the bridge was reopened about 7:45 p.m., the southbound lanes remained shut down.

Meanwhile a CHP Air-Ops airplane was dispatched, helping to describe the man and his actions, he said.

Solano County Sheriff’s Office sent a negotiation team “and were a great resource, as they were able to speak with Mr. Brinkerhoff and negotiated his safe surrender with no further incident,” Correia said. “So thank you very much for their assistance.”

Other news outlets said the man was able to speak to relative by telephone while he was on the bridge.

While those accounts said the man had been troubled about a case of identity theft, and that he had taken out several cans of spray paint while parked on the bridge, Correia said, “We don’t know why he did this or what his motivation was, as this is still an ongoing investigation.”

The man was placed under arrest Saturday night.

Southbound lanes remained closed until the Walnut Creek Explosive ordnance detection team conducted its own search for bombs or other explosive devices, but found none and declared the area safe, Correia said.

The bridge’s southbound lanes were reopened early Sunday.

“We truly want to thank everyone on the roadways tonight for their patience as we worked with our allied agencies to ultimately bring this situation to a safe conclusion. When we have threats of this nature, we have an obligation to take them seriously,” Correia said in the CHP release. “And we are very thankful tonight for everyone’s assistance and that no injuries occurred to the subject, the officers on scene or the public.”

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