Missouri Vigilante Faces Charges After Attempting to Catch Amber Alert Suspect in Iowa

ALTOONA, Iowa  --  A Missouri man is now facing charges after being accused of opening fire on a man he thought was a suspect in an Amber Alert.

Police say Matthew Golden was traveling east on Interstate 80 when the Amber Alert was issued early Tuesday morning. The notification was for two missing children from Toronto, Iowa.

“There's nothing about this vehicle that would make you think it was the Amber Alert vehicle," said Altoona Police Chief Greg Stallman.

The car described in the Amber Alert was a 2006 silver Hyundai Sonata with Illinois license plates. Despite this description, Golden spotted a white panel van with Florida plates was the suspect vehicle.

“After ramming the vehicle probably more than once, he gets out of the vehicle and begins giving commands to the driver, and then he fires two rounds at him," Chief Stallman said.

The driver of the van, Florida resident T.C. Smith, was heading to Illinois and luckily was uninjured during the incident. Arriving officers say Smith was surprisingly calm.

Golden told police he hoped he had the right vehicle.

“We can’t find where this would have been justified or anything about the vehicle that fit the description of the Amber Alert," Chief Stallman said.

Police found two handguns and 15 grams of marijuana inside Golden's SUV.

“There was nothing about his actions that we thought he was under the influence," Chief Stallman said.

Golden is charged with possessing an illegal substance, intimidation, and two counts of assault--one for each of two shots police say he fired.

Police say none of Golden's choices were correct. In the case of an Amber Alert, they ask the public not to take matters into their own hands.

“Stay behind the vehicle  at a safe distance until you see a squad car get there to be able to then take action," Chief Stallman said.

Reports show before Golden was arrested, he stripped down to his underwear. However, officials are unsure of the reason behind this action. Golden is being held in Polk County on a $23,000 bond and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week.