Santa Rosa police received word around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday that a man had stepped out of his car and began firing indiscriminately at the ground on the 5700 block of Melita Road with what appeared to be a pistol.

Ten police cars rushed to the scene, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s Henry 1 helicopter was deployed and a medical team staged.

But the suspect was a road worker subcontracted to use a tool similar to a nail gun to secure rubber tubing to the pavement as part of a traffic survey.

“This is unusual,” said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Brenda Harrington, who said a resident called police after seeing what appeared to be someone carrying a gun and hearing what sounded like gunfire.

“What the resident did was great,” Harrington said. “That kind of road work is not common in that neighborhood.”

You can reach Staff Writer Nick Rahaim at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nrahaim.