NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Eric Popper wants to tell people that he is innocent.
“I was pursued and attacked on the way to work after getting in front of someone,” he explained to Local 10 News’ Rosh Lowe.
Video of Popper from the incident has been seen nationwide.
He’s the man who opened fire while driving during a road rage incident that happened last summer.
Now, for the first time, Popper is sharing his side of the story.
“I was in fear of my life 1000 percent,” he said. “I thought I was going to be shot and probably killed.”
The incident in question happened in June in North Miami on I-95 just before 7 a.m. as Popper was heading to work.
“And then I hear a very loud noise, and I’ve heard gunshots before, and that to me sounded like a gunshot,” he said. “I didn’t want to wait to see if I was going to be killed.”
According to his arrest report, police said Popper changed lanes and cut off another driver.
That driver, identified as Rene Suarez, began to tailgate Popper, according to police.
Popper then slammed on his breaks.
Police said Suarez threw a water bottle at the passenger window of Popper’s car, but Popper didn’t know what it was at the time, and he says he thought he was being fired upon.
“I did what I instinctively felt was necessary,” Popper said.
Authorities said 11 shots were fired, but no injuries were reported.
“Whether you call it stand your ground, whether you call it self-defense, Mr. Popper is not only not guilty, he is innocent and justified,” said Popper’s attorney Robert Gershman.
Popper said the initial release of the partial video doesn’t tell the whole story.
“This is my life versus him, and at the moment I wanted to survive,” he said “This has affected my livelihood. I resigned from my position at the Miami Beach Fire Department and ever since then it has been tough to hold down a job.”