An investigation was underway Tuesday morning into a “long and horrific gun battle” in the south end of Riverside that left one California Highway Patrol officer dead, two others wounded and the suspect mortally wounded.
The officer-involved shooting occurred about 5:35 p.m. Monday in the area of Box Springs Boulevard and Eastridge Avenue, just west of Interstate 215.
A CHP officer had just pulled over a GMC pickup truck for an unknown violation and was doing paperwork to have the truck towed when the suspect pulled a weapon from the truck and opened fire on the officer, according to CHP Assistant Chief Scott Parker.
The slain officer was identified as Andre Moye, 34.
Moye was able to make a call for help and at least three other CHP officers responded to the scene, as well as Riverside Police Department officers and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies.
The first CHP officers to arrive engaged in a gun battle with the suspect and ultimately killed him. Two other CHP officers were injured, one critically and another suffered minor injuries, Parker said.
All three wounded officers were rushed to a hospital, one by air and another, in a CHP vehicle. The officer who was taken by helicopter was pronounced dead at the hospital, Parker said.
Video from outside the hospital showed officers standing watch and a line of motorcycles outside the emergency room, as well as a hearse that arrived just after 10 p.m. Moye’s body was placed in the hearse about 10:45 p.m. and the procession to the Riverside County coroner’s office in Perris began just after 11 p.m.
Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement on Moye’s death late Monday night.
“Jennifer and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and fellow officers grieving the tragic loss of Officer Moye, who will be remembered for his commitment to serving the Riverside County community and the people of California,” the statement said. “Officer Moye served as a member of the CHP for nearly three years.”
Moye was assigned to the Riverside CHP office after graduating from the CHP Academy in March 2017. He is survived by his wife, father, mother, stepfather, brothers and sisters, the statement added.
CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley tweeted his sympathies Monday evening.
“I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” Stanley said. “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.”
Two bystanders suffered superficial injuries as a result of the shootout, Parker said.
A weapon, described as a rifle, was recovered at the scene, Riverside Police Department Chief Sergio Diaz said at a Monday night news conference.
“It was a long and horrific gun battle,” Diaz said
Riverside police are leading a multiple-agency investigation involving the CHP and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Diaz described the crime scene as large and said the helicopter used to take Moye to a hospital is part of that crime scene.
“We don’t know where the suspect was going, where he was headed to, what his affiliations are,” Diaz said. “We don’t know his motive for this crime and we won’t speculate on that.”
Riverside police detectives will pour over a massive amount of evidence, including video from officers’ body-worn cameras, the paperwork of the stop from the deceased officer and witness statements and video over the next few days, Diaz said.
The names of the hospitalized officers were not released by authorities.
ABC7 interviewed Dennis Luther, who was reported to be the father of the suspect, identified by the station as 49-year-old Aaron Luther.
“It’s hard, I love him,” Luther said in an exclusive interview with ABC7. “And I’m sorry for the policeman.”
Luther said broke down as he watched the shootout on TV, knowing his son was the one who opened fire on CHP officers.
“I’m devastated,” he said. “I just can’t believe it.”
He told the station Aaron’s wife called him shortly after she received a call from her husband about the traffic stop.
“Aaron got pulled over, they were going to impound the truck, he called her and told her to come pick him up,” Luther said. “So she went there and the tow truck was there when she got there, she said she heard `pop, pop, pop,’ gunfire, and a bullet went through the windshield of her car.”
Luther told ABC7 his son had served 10 years in prison for attempted murder and was released more than a decade ago but recently suffered from depression and a knee injury. He does not know why his son had a gun in his possession.
Traffic near the shooting scene and the nearby Interstate 215/Moreno Valley (60) Freeway interchange was expected to be affected throughout the morning commute and drivers were asked to find alternate routes, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said.
— City News Service
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