Man Sentenced to 30 Years to Life for Attempted Murder of Police Officer
Above: Rafael Vital file photo | Placer County District Attorney’s Office
On February 15, 2023, Rafael Vital, 27, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for attempted murder on a police officer, evading a police officer, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and related charges, the Placer County DA’s Office announced in a press release.
Vital was found guilty in Placer County court in January.
The crime occurred on April 20, 2021, when a Roseville PD officer tried to pull Vital over for an alleged traffic violation. Vital immediately fled the scene, leading the officer on a high-speed chase on the freeway. When Vital suddenly stopped his car, the officer approached him, at which point Vital opened fire at the officer from the driver’s side window.
The officer did not return fire, fearing the danger posed to passing vehicles on the freeway. Vital then tried to flee the scene, but lost control of his car and crashed into a retaining wall. He was apprehended after an extensive search, which required the shutdown of the freeway.
During the trial, it was revealed that Vital had a long history of criminal activity, including pointing a gun at a driver who had “cut him off” in a local parking lot, a hit-and-run accident, and child endangerment, among other charges. The jury determined that Vital had shown a “high degree of cruelty, viciousness, and callousness” and posed a “serious danger to society.”
The sentencing judge, Judge Horst, recognized Vital’s “increasing criminality” and his “inability to be successful under probation supervision.”
The judge’s ruling was supported by Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire, “We are grateful the officer was unharmed and commend the judge and jury for ensuring the defendant was held accountable.”