David/Desron Rodriguez, the adrenaline junkie known across social media as the Lava Man because of his daring trips to the La Soufriere volcano – even at its most eruptive state, has been freed from police detention on his own recognizance.
Almost 48 hours passed since the 34 year old, thrill seeking hiker was arrested and held by officers at the Biabou precinct. While in police custody he was reportedly questioned by one of the local constabulary’s finest interrogators and then released with orders to report back to the Central Police Station “four days later for the saga to continue.”
Rodriguez confirmed that no official charge was laid against him to date, when Asbert News Network caught up with him late Thursday night.
“The police them say they got commanded by the Commissioner to go and lock me up. The reason why? I don’t know, they don’t know. Only the Commissioner know. They said I went into the Red Zone after the evacuation [order] was passed which am not supposed to – that’s what they trying to say basically,” he told us.
Independent sources have confirmed that Rodriguez was being held under suspicion that he was in “breach of an order that was made on April 8.”
Although the unapologetic hiker was in relatively good spirits, he queried, “the Red Zone affu [is for] VIP alone? Because a lot of people was going there, making videos and posting but police not locking them up; come like they coming for me alone.
“It’s clear that I am being targeted, everybody could see that. Why? I don’t know; probably because all the attention on me so they trying to use me as a good example.”
Asked whether the threat of future imprisonment would deter any of his further adventures up the increasingly hazardous volcanic slopes, he said, “me’s a big man and me mind ah me own. So if you lock me up and even give me six years in prison and me come out and me still wah go, me still ah go go.
“That can’t stop me from going. Now that nuh mean that me ah go go [I am going] because me did say me ah go rest from that ah while but me just ah try show them that me nuh see the reason for weh dem ah do really.
“And you can’t say that I’m putting you and your team at risk when you have people living in the Red Zone … them is who putting you at risk.
“Suppose something was to happen up there? If I go to the Soufriere one day and she erupt – I dead. I don’t need you to rescue me. I know that for a fact. If something happens to me I am not looking for you to rescue me. I am comfortable with that.”
Hours before Lava Man was set free on the “station bond,” Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves referenced his case as one example of uncalled for personal actions that resulted in wasted national resources.
Gonsalves told listeners to his daily volcano updates on national radio, “Leh we don’t do things to create unnecessary mischief – just like the young man who went up at La Soufriere.
“I’ve been advised that the police have him in custody. I don’t know whether he’d be charged or not. But because of that the police had to go and look for him…. The manpower required for that. They now have to detain him – manpower required for that;
“I have no doubt that the Commissioner Of Police is holding discussions with the Director of Public Prosecution as to what charge to lay on him – if to lay any charge at all…. And that is manpower – for what? Because you want to go after some likes?”
One observant bystander remarked, “Rodriguez was hunted for days by several police officers, he went to the Central Police Station on his own volition; he was allowed to leave having stated that the police requested that he come to them. He was arrested a day after on the instructions of [the] Commissioner Of Police and detained for 48 hours….
“In a time like this, with so many displaced and suffering; a period when all hands on deck are needed for the rebuilding and healing process, the allocation of police resources for an allegation of this magnitude especially in a country of ‘extreme poverty’ –you really have to wonder how this police force operates.”