Plea deal taken in knife-threat case

A 43-year-old former mechanic who took an ill-fated taxi ride to Artichoke Joe’s in San Bruno that ended with a police officer jolting him with a Taser was sentenced Monday to two and a half years in prison after accepting a plea deal from prosecutors.

Gilberto Rodriguez, a San Francisco resident, was arrested on the evening of March 12 after a violent series of events that began after he took a taxi from the Mission district to the poker club on Huntington Avenue in San Bruno.

Upon arrival, Rodriguez began walking into the casino without paying, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. The cab driver then walked after him, but Rodriguez brandished a knife and told the driver to back off or he’d kill him, according to prosecutors.

“The cab driver had the good sense of backing off,” Wagstaffe said.

Rodriguez immediately tried to flee, running toward a nearby parked car occupied by a woman. He allegedly brandished his knife again to force the woman out of the car.

“[B]ut he couldn’t start the car,” Wagstaffe said. “He got out of the car and ran back to the taxi.”

A police officer, who Wagstaffe said in March was off-duty at the time of the incident, saw the incident unfold and confronted Rodriguez, who then brandished his knife yet again.

“He was Tasered and that took care of the trouble,” Wagstaffe said.

Rodriguez pled guilty Monday to charges of felony attempted carjacking, making threats and brandishing a knife before being sentenced. Rodriguez’s attorney John May did not return calls for comment.

bfoley@examiner.com

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