“Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting at Off-Duty Police Officer in Lake Elsinore Road Rage Incident”

By | July 21, 2023

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A 37-year-old man from Mission Viejo, California, pleaded guilty to felony charges after shooting at an off-duty police officer during an act of road rage on the Ortega Highway near Lake Elsinore. Keith Frederick Prante admitted to shooting at an occupied vehicle and unlawfully carrying a firearm under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. In exchange, the assault charge against him will be dropped.

The incident occurred on February 20, 2021, when the victim, an off-duty San Bernardino police officer identified as “T.S.,” was driving east on Highway 74. Prante abruptly stopped in front of him, blocking his path on the narrow two-lane corridor. Without any prior indication, Prante leaned out of his vehicle with a .40-caliber pistol and opened fire on the driver’s side of the victim’s car. Fortunately, none of the bullets penetrated the windshield, and no one was injured.

After the failed attempt, Prante accelerated away but only traveled a short distance before pulling over to the shoulder of the highway. T.S., fearing for his safety, stopped near Prante’s location. The off-duty officer observed Prante produce a handgun out of the driver’s side window and begin to reverse towards him. In self-defense, T.S. fired his own handgun towards Prante.

Prante immediately drove away, and T.S. called 911 to report the incident. California Highway Patrol officers and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies quickly responded to the scene. Prante was identified as the shooter, and he was taken into custody the following morning without incident.

Prante, who had no prior felony convictions, is scheduled for sentencing on October 16, 2021. The District Attorney’s Office has not disclosed the sentence they are seeking. The incident serves as a reminder of the dangers of road rage and the importance of maintaining composure and reporting incidents to law enforcement rather than taking matters into one’s own hands..