Man pleads guilty to shooting police lieutenant

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who shot at a San Diego police lieutenant during an attempted traffic stop pleaded guilty Friday to shooting at an occupied vehicle, and another man pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the discharge of a firearm.

The gunman, Michael Eugene Rains, 29, also pleaded guilty to assaulting an inmate and possession of a sharp instrument in jail in two separate cases. He’s expected to be be sentenced to nine years in state prison Jan. 6.

Daniel Patrick Schwartzel, 19, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting, will be sentenced to a year in jail on Jan. 27. Judge Timothy Walsh ordered Schwartzel released on his own recognizance because he has already served his time in custody.

San Diego police Lt. Steven Shaw testified during a preliminary hearing last January that he tried to stop a white SUV about 8 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2013, because he suspected the driver — Schwartzel — to be under the influence.

Shaw said he turned on his overhead lights and assumed the driver of the slowing SUV was going to pull over. Then the lieutenant said he heard a popping sound.

As the SUV slowed, Shaw said he heard three or four more “pops” and saw muzzle flashes coming right at him from the passenger side of the SUV.

“I felt I was being shot at,” Shaw testified. “I ducked down. I felt I was being ambushed.”

Shaw testified that he was scared he’d be killed as he followed the SUV west on Poway Road.

The lieutenant, who was not injured, said the driver finally pulled over near Poway and Garden roads in Poway. He said he drew his service weapon and waited for other officers to take the suspects into custody.

Officers testified they found a book safe containing a gun and three rounds of ammunition inside the SUV.

Matching expanded shell casings were also found on Poway Road near Espola Road, police said.

Categories: KUSI