The search caused a 25-minute lockdown at Fort Lee Elementary School No. 2 on Wednesday afternoon, a move school officials said they made as a precaution.
Rodriguez was wanted for a parole violation and a drunken driving charge, authorities said. He's also a suspect in a nonfatal shooting this month in the Bronx.
Earlier in the day, Rodriguez was arrested in Fort Lee, said New York police. After cuffing his hands behind him and shackling him, police put Rodriguez in the back of an unmarked police vehicle.
Officers then searched Rodriguez's vehicle, where they found a 9 mm handgun, but as they did that he managed to get in the front of the police vehicle and drive off, apparently using his knees to steer.
After driving about five miles, Rodriguez abandoned the car in nearby Ridgefield. The handcuffs and leg irons were found there.