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2 held for allegedly firing on officers, civilians in Riverside County

Two arrested for allegedly shooting at officers, civilians in Riverside County

For three days beginning Saturday, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies searched for a gunman who had fired on civilians and law enforcement officers with a high-powered rifle.

The hunt started Saturday, when a resident in San Jacinto flagged down an officer and told him someone had just driven by and pointed a gun at him, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The officer saw the truck and gave chase; officials say a colleague over the radio told him the car’s description matched a car involved in a recent carjacking. But as the pursuit unfolded, someone inside the vehicle began shooting at police, authorities said.

Sheriff’s Department officials say multiple rounds hit the squad car, at least one of which disabled it. As the car rolled to a stop, the gunman drove off, only to crash into a home two blocks away. By the time police arrived, the gunman was gone; a high-powered rifle with a laser sight was found nearby.

San Jacinto officers came under fire by the same shooter again on Sunday, police said.

Then on Monday, there was another shooting. About 10:30 p.m., a Hemet resident said someone in a red Dodge truck drove by and shot at them.

Just before midnight, a San Jacinto police officer spotted the truck headed toward the Soboba Indian Reservation.

Again, police gave chase. Like the two previous pursuits, a gunman armed with a high-powered rifle began shooting at officers out the rear of the truck. Though the shots didn’t disable the squad car, the gunmen briefly escaped when they drove the truck into a sandy ravine.

Authorities tracked the vehicle to a nearby home on the reservation, where they spotted the driver and gunman speeding off in another car driven by the home’s resident.

The driver and the two men police were initially chasing abandoned the car and hid in a neighborhood not far away. They were eventually found and arrested following a "massive" deployment of law enforcement, officials said.

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies identified the suspects Wednesday as Andre Sanchez, 22, and David Moreno, whose age was not immediately available. Both men were held on suspicion of attempting to murder a police officer and are being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, the Sheriff’s Department said.

No officers or civilians were shot during the incidents, authorities said. Authorities did not identify a potential motive for the multiple attacks.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

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