Wild shootout near 215 Freeway in Riverside leaves CHP officer and gunman dead
A California Highway Patrol officer was killed and two other officers were wounded in a wild shootout Monday evening off the 215 Freeway in Riverside that also left the gunman dead and motorists dodging bullets.
Officer Andre Moye, 34, was killed, and a second officer was in critical condition Monday night after the shooting, which also left a third CHP officer with minor injuries. Authorities said two civilians are thought to have suffered minor injuries.
The suspect, who has not been identified, died at the scene.
Moye was a CHP officer for almost three years and was assigned to the Riverside office after graduating from the CHP Academy on March 3, 2017.
“I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet Monday. “Tonight, I mourn the loss of one of our own, CHP Officer Andre Moye, who was killed during a shootout following a traffic stop. Prayers go out to all, including the responding officers injured in the shooting.”
Authorities called the violence “horrific” and said a motive for the attack, which injured two other officers, remains unclear.
The incident is thought to have started after a traffic stop.
About 5:35 p.m., Moye stopped the driver of a white GMC pickup for an unknown offense. At some point during the traffic stop, Moye determined that he was going to impound the man’s vehicle and called for a tow truck, CHP Inland Division Assistant Chief Scott Parker said at a news conference Monday night.
While Moye was filling out paperwork, the man got a rifle from his truck and started firing at the officer, Parker said.
Moye returned fire, and even though he was hit, he was able to radio for help. Three other CHP officers soon arrived, followed by three deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and at least one officer from the Riverside Police Department, authorities said.
The man who engaged officers in a gun battle off the 215 in Riverside, killing a CHP officer, was identified as Aaron Luther, an official said.
Dozens of rounds were fired at the scene, according to law enforcement. The type of rifle that the suspect used has not been released.
“It was a long and horrific gun battle, and resulted in a very extensive crime scene,” Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said at the news conference Monday night.
It is unknown whose gunfire killed the suspect; that will be determined by the Riverside County coroner, officials said.
Several sources said the suspect was still up and shooting when sheriff’s deputies and a Riverside police officer arrived.
Authorities said they do not know where the suspect was going when he was stopped, or why he started shooting at Moye.
“We don’t know why,” Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback said. “That is all going to be part of this lengthy investigation.”
“Please say some prayers for the CHP officers involved,” wrote state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) on Twitter.
Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her front windshield.
Retired Marine Charles Childress, 56, also of Moreno Valley, was in the car behind them when he heard gunfire and saw that a bullet had gone through Moctezuma’s windshield.
He then heard the children screaming and knew he had to get the family out of the car in front of him.
“I was 21 years in the Marine Corps, and my training just kicked in,” Childress said.
Childress led Moctezuma and her two children, all of whom were unharmed, as they crawled down to the bottom of the bridge away from the gunfire.
“He’s my hero,” Moctezuma said. “He’s my hero.”
The freeway was closed, and Caltrans urged people to avoid the area. Authorities cautioned morning commuters that the freeway could remain closed for hours and advised them to take an alternate route.
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