Shootout kills California officer, suspect

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A man whose truck was being impounded suddenly grabbed a rifle and opened fire, killing a California Highway Patrol officer and wounding two others before he was killed, authorities said.

Other drivers ran for cover and two people were slightly injured as dozens of bullets flew shortly after 5:30 p.m. Monday just off a freeway in Riverside, east of Los Angeles.

"We don't know his motive for this crime," Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said.

KABC-TV reported that a man identified the shooter as his son, Aaron Luther, 49, of neighboring Beaumont.

A CHP officer was doing paperwork to impound the pickup truck when the man reached in, grabbed a rifle and fatally wounded the officer, authorities said.

The officer was identified as Andrew Moye, Jr.

"I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside. Tonight, I mourn the loss of one of our own," CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet.

'It was a long and horrific gun battle'

Family members said Moye was 33 and had been with the CHP for about four years, according to KABC-TV.

Two other CHP officers were wounded, one critically, as officers from several agencies fought the man.

"It was a long and horrific gun battle," the chief said.

Dennis Luther of Riverside said he watched the shootout on television.

"It's hard. I love him. And I'm sorry for the policeman," he told KABC-TV. "I'm devastated. I just can't believe it."

Luther said his son served prison time for attempted murder but was released more than a decade ago. He says he doesn't know what his son was doing with a gun as a felon, which is illegal.

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Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco, right, with Riverside City Police Chief Sergio G. Diaz, center, and a California Highway Patrol officer gather information after a shootout near a freeway killed a CHP officer and wounded two others before the gunman was fatally shot, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
A mother and her two children and the man with his dog that got them away from the scene stand with a deputy not too far from where a shootout by a freeway killed a California Highway Patrol officer and wounded two others before the gunman was fatally shot, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
A woman and her two children stand near the scene where a shootout near a freeway killed a California Highway Patrol officer and wounded two others before the gunman was fatally shot, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
Authorities work the scene where a shootout near a freeway killed a California Highway Patrol officer and wounded two others before the gunman was fatally shot, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
Authorities work the scene where a shootout near a freeway killed a California Highway Patrol officer and wounded two others before the gunman was fatally shot, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
Riverside City Deputy Chief of Police Jeffrey Greer reacts at the scene where a shootout near a freeway killed a California Highway Patrol officer and wounded two others before the gunman was fatally shot, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
Authorities investigate the scene on the Eastridge Avenue overpass over Interstate 215, where a fatal shootout occurred, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Riverside, Calif. (Terry Pierson/The Orange County Register via AP)
MORENO VALLEY, CA - AUGUST 12: A Riverside County Sheriff deputy stands guard by a gunman's white vehicle after the gunman killed a California Highway Patrol officer before being killed himself in the shootout during a traffic stop near Box Springs Road on August 12, 2019 in Moreno Valley, California. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los AngelesTimes via Getty Images)
MORENO VALLEY, CA - AUGUST 12: California Highway Patrol officers gather outside the emergency room entrance at Riverside Municipal Medical Center after a CHP officer was killed in a shootout in which the gunman was also killed at a traffic stop near Box Springs Road on August 12, 2019 in Moreno Valley, California. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los AngelesTimes via Getty Images)
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After his truck was impounded, Aaron Luther called his wife to pick him up, his father said.

When she arrived, the tow truck was there.

"She said she heard 'pop, pop, pop' ... gunfire, and then a bullet went through the windshield of her car," Luther said of his son's wife.

The father said his son recently seemed depressed, was having knee pain and marital problems but was devoted to his two children and a stepchild.

"He lived for his kids. That's what motivated him," Luther said. "So I don't know what overcame him. I mean, I wish I did know."

A bullet flew through her front windshield

Two people received superficial injuries and "they're going to be OK." Parker said.

Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley told the Los Angeles Times that she was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her front windshield.

Charles Childress, 56, a retired Marine from Moreno Valley, was in the car behind her.

He led the family as they crawled to the bottom of a bridge to hide and none were harmed, the Times reported.

"He's my hero," Moctezuma 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. Motorcycle officers then led a procession as the hearse was driven to the county coroner's office.

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