Man charged with shooting at off-duty officer on Ortega Highway

MURRIETA  – Felony charges were filed today against a 34-year-old man accused of shooting at an off-duty police officer on the Ortega (74) Highway near Lake Elsinore during an apparent act of road rage.
Keith Frederick Prante of Mission Viejo was arrested at his residence Sunday following an hours-long investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
Along with a firearm assault count, Prante is charged with shooting at an occupied vehicle and carrying a loaded semiautomatic pistol in an unlawful manner.
He’s being held in lieu of $135,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta and is slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday at the Southwest Justice Center next door.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, the victim, identified in court documents as an off-duty San Bernardino police officer with the initials “T.S.,” was going east on the 74, approaching Decker Canyon Road, when Prante abruptly stopped directly in front of him, blocking his path along the narrow two-lane corridor, according to CHP Officer Mike Lassig.
There was no word on what immediately preceded the action.
Lassig alleged that Prante leaned out of his vehicle with a .40-caliber pistol in hand and opened fire on the driver’s side of the victim’s car. However, none of the bullets penetrated the windshield.
The driver then sped away, but traveled only a couple of miles before pulling over to the shoulder of the highway, according to Lassig, who said the off-duty officer spotted Prante and, “fearing for his safety, stopped just west of the suspect’s location.”
“The victim observed the suspect produce a handgun out the driver’s
side window and begin to reverse toward the victim’s location,” Lassig said.
“The victim, fearing for his life, fired a handgun … toward the suspect.”
No one was injured.
Lassig alleged that Prante immediately drove away, heading into Lake
Elsinore, and the off-duty policeman trailed him at a safe distance, making a
note of the license plate on the defendant’s vehicle, which soon disappeared
from view. He then alled 911, and CHP officers and Riverside County sheriff’s
deputies quickly converged on the area.
Lassig said Prante’s whereabouts were confirmed the following morning,
at which point he was taken into custody without incident.
Pirante has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
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City News Service (CNS)