HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- David Rios, the 40-year-old man whose standoff with police shutdown Interstate 95 in downtown Richmond last month, cried through much of his jailhouse interview Tuesday.
Rios was recently released from the hospital and charged with gun possession by a violent felon, eluding police, resisting arrest, and possession of marijuana.
He talked about how he was in a very low place in his life when a chain of events he called unfortunate began to unfold that led to a standoff during rush hour traffic on I-95.
Rios said the incident began when a Henrico police officer approached him in the parking lot of a Game Stop. He said he was there to get a uDraw GameTablet for his girlfriend's child.
Though Rios admitted that he had marijuana in the car, he said he wasn't doing anything wrong at the time an officer approached him for alleged suspicious activity. He said he was just texting with his girlfriend. He said he had a bowl in the car from the night before, but had not been smoking.
"I'm not going to say I'm a picture perfect person," Rios said. "My life has been an example of a bunch of mistakes I've made on my own -- but at that particular time I wasn't doing anything, I was minding my own business."
Rios also had an illegal firearm in the car and he said he drove off because he had already spent 15 years in prison and he didn't want to go back.
When he crashed on 95, he said he tried to overdose on a "large quantity" of drugs then tried to slit his wrist and then finally grabbed his gun.
“I then proceeded to shoot myself in the chest with a Rueger P9045 at point blank range,” Rios said. “I was attempting to shoot myself in my heart -- didn't shoot my heart, didn't hit my spine or my kidneys, the bullet traveled through me the least path of resistance.”
"God moved through the bullet through me," he said.
Rios said he didn't want to hurt anyone but himself and he now is a changed man who wants to help others.
“If you feel that way and you're about to make the wrong decision, the worst decision, think about what is most important to you in your life,” he said. “Think about your family members, those that care about -- you think about what the world would lose if you removed yourself.”
“I didn't think about those things I took those things for granted,” Rios added.
Rios said he's not going to fight the charges against him.
And he wants to apologize to his family and thank the first responders and medical personnel at VCU that saved his life, even the staff at the jail.
Rios was sentenced to 17 years in prison for robbery and malicious wounding in the 90s, according to online court records. He was recently acquitted by a Richmond jury of a 2017 charge of possessing a gun as a violent felon, in Bryan Park. He said he was listening to music and working through emotions when police surrounded his car. A person at the park reported that he was sitting in the car in full body armor, something Rios said was simply not true -- and a jury agreed.
In 2015, Rios was a person of interest in the murder of his girlfriend Katasha Johnson. He said Tuesday that he has never recovered from the loss of her in his life. At the time, Rios was held for unrelated assault and battery charges, but never charged with her murder.