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Highway patrol officer, suspect die after gunbattle near Southern California freeway

A California Highway Patrol officer was killed and two others were injured after a man driving a truck that was to be impounded opened fire during a traffic stop Monday, starting a gunbattle in which he was also killed, authorities said.

The officer who pulled over the truck was shot but was able to call for assistance, Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Scott Parker said. He was later taken by air ambulance but died from his injuries, Parker said.

Two other highway patrol officers were wounded in the gunbattle, he said.

“It was a long and horrific gunbattle,” Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said at a news conference Monday night.

California Highway Patrol officer killed in gun fightAug. 13, 201901:26

The gunfire erupted in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, near the 215 freeway shortly after 5:30 p.m.

A highway patrol officer stopped a white GMC pickup, called for a tow truck and was filling out paperwork when “the suspect entered his vehicle and pulled out a rifle, unknown caliber rifle, and he engaged our officer with multiple gunshots,” Parker said.

The shooting and officer’s call for assistance sent CHP and other law enforcement officers to the scene.

The next two officers who arrived, “immediately were engaged with gunfire by this suspect,” fired back and were wounded, Parker said.

Seven law enforcement officers fired their weapons during the gunfight, Diaz said.

The suspect, who has not been identified by police, was shot by police and died at the scene, he said.

One of the wounded highway patrol officers suffered major injuries and was in critical condition Monday night, and the other wounded officer suffered minor injuries, Parker said.

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley identified the officer who was killed as Andre Moye. “I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” he said in a tweet, adding, “Prayers go out to all, including the responding officers injured in the shooting.

The injured officers have not been.

I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside. 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.

— Warren Stanley (@CHPCommissioner) August 13, 2019

Two bystanders are thought to have suffered superficial injuries and are expected to be OK, he said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that a woman was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet went through her windshield. Nobody in that vehicle was harmed. Another man behind that vehicle led the woman and her children to safety, the newspaper reported.

The large crime scene will take some time to process, Diaz said, and investigators will review body-worn camera footage and many eyewitness accounts.

“We don’t know where the suspect was coming from, where he was headed to, what his affiliations are,” Diaz said. “We don’t know his motive for this crime.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a tweet said Moye “will be remembered for his commitment to service and the community of Riverside County.”

“Jen and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow officers who are grieving tonight,” Newsom said.

Debbie Howard, a family member of the slain officer, went to the hospital Monday and told NBC Los Angeles that he had a good heart and loved his job. “That’s all he talked about,” she told station. “I’m going to be CHP. And he did it.”

“I’ve been knowing him since he was a baby,” she told the station. “I don’t understand. I just don’t understand.”

The suspect’s name was confirmed as Aaron Luther by his father, Dennis Luther. Luther said the family is “devastated” and the officers are in their thoughts.

“My wife and I are just in shock right now. And we’re just praying for the officers,” Luther said in a brief phone interview late Monday.


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