Officer threatened with gun by Pittsburgh hospital patient who became upset over phone charger

PITTSBURGH — A patient at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh threatened a police officer with a gun Tuesday night, authorities said.

Roderick Cook, Jr., 28, was treated for alcohol intoxication, according to a criminal complaint. As he was being discharged from the emergency room shortly before 9 p.m., he became irate that a phone charger that clinical staff let him use wasn’t working.

Cook, according to the complaint, was “hostile and belligerent throughout his stay, shouting racial epithets and derogatory remarks while exhibiting other disruptive behavior.”

The officer, who was in uniform and works for UPMC Mercy Public Safety, was asked to escort Cook out of the hospital.

Cook shoved the officer as he was directed through the ambulance bay doors, police said. Once outside, Cook spat on the officer’s face and made verbal threats toward the officer, including saying “I should have blown you away.”

In an attempt to deescalate the situation, the officer did not engage with Cook and let him walk to a pickup truck that was waiting to pick him up, the complaint said. But once Cook got into the truck and it started to drive away, he reached down and raised a pistol into the air.

At that point, the officer pulled out his pistol, ordered Cook out of the truck and arrested him.

Cook is charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, prohibited person in possession of a firearm, harassment and carrying a concealed firearm without license to carry.

The complaint said Cook has numerous prior offenses, including a guilty plea for a robbery in 2011.