RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A California Highway Patrol officer was gunned down Monday off the 215 Freeway. A second officer is in critical condition, while the suspect was killed in a shootout with officers, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The Times reported that a man driving a white GMC pickup truck was stopped by a CHP motor officer. At some point, the man grabbed a rifle from inside the vehicle and fired at the officer approaching him. Other officers arrived at the scene and witnesses described a chaotic situation. One driver said bullets “flew through their windows.”
The homicidal suspect opened fire shortly after 5:30 p.m. after a CHP officer decided to impound his vehicle.
“He called for a tow truck and was filling out the necessary paperwork” when the driver pulled a rifle from the truck and opened fire, said Scott Parker, assistant chief at the CHP’s Inland Division. The officer called for help and three other CHP officers arrived. The officers immediately faced gunfire and two were hit, Parker said.
A Riverside police officer and three Riverside County sheriff’s deputies also arrived and traded shots with the man before killing him at the scene, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said.
“It was a long and horrific gun battle,” the chief said.
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.”
Video showed the gunman, apparently clad in black and wielding a military assault-style rifle, trading fire with officers and then retreating to crouch behind the front of his truck for cover, still trading shots.
Video after the shooting showed bullet holes in the front windows of two patrol cars and large holes blown in their back windows.
Parker said the first CHP officer who was wounded was taken by helicopter to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Another officer was hospitalized in critical condition but the third had only minor injuries.
Authorities didn’t immediately release the names of the slain CHP officer or the gunman.
However, family members identified the officer as Andre Moye, Jr., 33, who was married and had been with the CHP for about four years, KABC-TV reported.
Police earlier had said at least one civilian had been slightly injured by flying glass.
Parker said two civilians received superficial injuries and “they’re going to be OK.” Parker said.
Authorities did not immediately say what prompted the officer to stop and impound the truck. Investigators didn’t immediately know where the gunman came from or where he was headed, Diaz said.
After the shooting, dozens of law enforcement officers gathered outside of the hospital in nearby Moreno Valley. Snipers were posted on the roof as a precaution.
Dozens lined up and saluted as the officer’s flag-draped body was removed from the hospital and placed in a hearse. Motor officers then led a procession as the hearse was driven to the county coroner’s office.
“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.”
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, tweeted, “Please say some prayers for the CHP officers involved, according to the report.
The Times reported that the condition of the two officers who were injured was not immediately known.