Airport official arrested after allegedly pointing loaded pistol during road-rage incident

2012-05-01T17:10:00Z 2012-05-02T11:25:48Z Airport official arrested after allegedly pointing loaded pistol during road-rage incidentBy Lauri Harvey Keagle lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311 nwitimes.com

GARY | The Lake County commissioners' special assistant recently appointed to the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority was being held at the Gary City Jail on Tuesday after allegedly pointing a loaded gun at a motorist Monday night, police said.

Tramel Raggs, 32, was arrested in connection with the incident, according to Cpl. Gabrielle King.

According to King, at 5:30 p.m., a 37-year-old man told police he was at a red light facing south at Fifth Avenue and Broadway behind a silver Honda Accord blocking two lanes.

The alleged victim told police he pulled up next to the Accord and made an obscene finger gesture toward Raggs, who was driving the vehicle, and yelled at him.

Raggs then allegedly pointed a black pistol at him and drove off.

Police dispatchers alerted police on the street to the incident, saying the alleged victim was following Raggs onto southbound Interstate 65.

On I-65, police stopped the man and Raggs and asked Raggs if he had a weapon. Raggs allegedly told police he did.

Raggs is the son of Gary City Clerk Suzette Raggs.

Raggs and his older sister, Talicia, were featured as a team in 2002 during the third season of the CBS reality game show "The Amazing Race."

They were chosen from among thousands of entries to be among 12 two-member teams to compete in a race around the world for a $1 million prize.

King said officers found a black pistol loaded with live rounds in the vehicle. Raggs was handcuffed and transported to the Gary City Jail. King said the allegations of pointing a loaded firearm and intimidation are felony offenses.

Lake County Attorney John Dull said Tuesday afternoon that County Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, has written his two fellow county commissioners asking them to immediately suspend Raggs without pay for five days pending a review of the matter for possible termination.

Dull said Commissioners Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary, and Fran DuPey, D-Hammond, haven't yet responded to Scheub's request, and he couldn't say when they will.

Allen and DuPey said earlier they are awaiting further details of the matter before they take a position on Raggs' continued employment.

Raggs' hiring as a $59,312-a-year assistant last year raised controversy among commissioners. Commissioners Allen and Scheub supported Raggs' hiring, while DuPey said the job was unnecessary and other county employees never were given a fair chance to compete for the position.

Dull declined to comment on whether the incident will affect Raggs' appointment to the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority, on which he has been a board member since February.

Some associated with the airport authority thought it should have been a more open selection process, too, and that someone with more business experience should have been selected.

Allen said he will withhold comment on the matter until authorities decide whether to charge Raggs with any crime. DuPey said she also will defer a decision.

"We don't have the whole story yet," she said.

Times staff writer Bill Dolan contributed to this report.

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