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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Highway Shootings: Road Rage Mental Cases With Guns

     On Tuesday November 11, 2014, in Houston, Texas, Kenneth Caplan was driving on the 610 South Loop highway with a female passenger in his car. Caplan cut in front of another vehicle nearly causing a collision. The 20-year-old woman who was cut off, honked her horn angrily at the reckless driver. She should have left her response at that, but didn't.

     The angry young motorist, in retaliation, passed the offending driver and cut in front of him. This infuriated the man who pulled his vehicle up alongside the woman who had cut him off. But instead of flipping her the finger or shouting obscenities, he lowered his front passenger's side window, raised a handgun, and with his female rider leaning back to give him a clear shot, fired a bullet into the young woman's car.

     The highway shooter's target heard a ringing in her ear and started to bleed from the head. As she pulled off the highway to call 911, the man who shot her drove away.

     Paramedics rushed the 20-year-old woman to Memorial Hermann Hospital where doctors treated her for a bullet wound that was not life-threatening.  Three days later, physicians released her from the hospital.

     On Wednesday November 26, 2014, Houston police officers took 32-year-old Kenneth Caplan into custody at his home. While road rage shootings in big cities was not uncommon, the identify of this highway shooter made the case a bit unusual. Kenneth Caplan was a Deputy Harris County Constable for Precinct 6. When he shot the woman Caplan was off-duty and out of uniform.

     Following his arrest, Caplan admitted shooting into the young woman's car. He said he had a right to shoot into the vehicle because the driver was driving erratically.,

     Police officers booked Caplan into the Harris County Jail on the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. (I don't know why the prosecutor didn't charge Caplan with attempted murder.) The judge set his bail at $200,000.

     A spokesperson for the Harris County Constable's Office announced that Caplan's law enforcement credentials had been collected and that he was no longer employed by the office.

     The victim of the shooting told reporters that "I feel like I got a taste of death." Indeed, and perhaps he learned a lesson about the dangers of road rage. A lot of motorists are ticking time bombs. It doesn't take much to set them off.

     In May 2016, Kenneth Caplan pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. In a newspaper interview, Caplan said he suffered from PTSD and had childhood onset of bipolar disorder after growing up in an abusive family. (With this background, how did he become a cop.) The judge sentenced Caplan to 20 years in prison.


  1. "(I don't know why the prosecutor didn't charge Caplan with attempted murder.) "

    Yes you do. A shot to the head is plainly attempted murder, if you or I do it. But for those allegedly held to a higher standard...

  2. At the time of this incident, the "officer" Kenneth Caplan was on suspension for a similar road rage incident that occurred in the summer of 2014.

    According to Harris County Assistant District Attorney Angela Weltin: Investigators have spent weeks trying to overcome Caplan's subterfuge about what happened in November.

    Following this incident he reported his car stolen and destroyed his weapon. Authorities suspect he took his car to Mexico and sold it. Also, he never reported the incident.

    I suspect he avoided more serious charged (like attempted murder for example) buy admitting what he did (perhaps a plea deal).