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September 23, 2018

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Henderson man arrested after barricade on bridge near Hoover Dam

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Yasmina Chavez

Authorities closed U.S. 93 in both directions after reports of a man armed with a gun and in a heavily reinforced vehicle near the Hoover Dam on Friday, June 15, 2018.

Updated Friday, June 15, 2018 | 8:15 p.m.

A man who stopped traffic in a tactical-style vehicle on a high-span bridge on the Arizona-Nevada border near the Hoover Dam has been identified as a Henderson resident.

It was not clear what motivated the suspect, Matthew P. Wright, 30, but a photo provided to KTNV Channel 13 showed him holding up a sign inside the vehicle that said, “Release the OIG Report.”

Authorities, who confirmed the content of the sign, did not say what Wright was referencing, but the U.S. Department of Justice inspector general issued a report Thursday on former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

At some point, he'd gotten out of the vehicle and flashed the sign, authorities said.

Metro Police initially said there were reports that the man was armed with a machine gun. The Arizona Department of Public Safety later said that its troopers had recovered a rifle and a handgun inside the vehicle.

Wright parked the vehicle on the Hoover Dam bypass bridge shortly before noon, prompting authorities to block traffic on U.S. 93 in both directions.

As Nevada Highway Patrol and Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers waited for Metro SWAT officers to arrive, the vehicle started heading toward Arizona, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Buratczuk said.

The man ran over tire spikes on the highway and later drove into a wash, where he was arrested without incident about five minutes later, Buratczuk said. The highway was closed for about 90 minutes.

No one was injured in the incident, officials said. Wright was booked at the Mohave County Jail on a single count each of terrorist acts, obstruction of a highway, endangerment, unlawful fight from law enforcement, and misconduct involving a weapon, authorities said.

"We are pleased that the partnership and cooperation between all agencies involved resulted in the successful and safe conclusion to this incident," said Capt. Brian Swanty with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, in a statement.

Motorists heading toward Las Vegas were advised near Kingman, Arizona, to use U.S. 95 through Laughlin. Drivers headed to Phoenix got similar warnings near Boulder City.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced via Twitter that the Hoover Dam was closed and tours suspended until further notice. People who were already in the dam’s visitor center sheltered in place, Buratczuk said.

Metro, the Nevada Highway Patrol, the Arizona DPS, the National Park Service and other nearby agencies responded to the incident, which remained under investigation Friday evening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.