Police search for motive in ‘long and horrific gun battle’ off California freeway in Riverside – USA TODAY
A shootout killed a California Highway Patrol officer and wounded two others Monday before the gunman was fatally shot, authorities said.
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Police on Tuesday wereÂ investigating whyÂ a man suddenly openedÂ fire during a traffic stop nearÂ a freeway in Riverside, California,Â killing a patrol officer,Â wounding two others and sending drivers fleeingÂ as bullets flew.
âWe donât know his motive for this crime,â Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said. The suspect, whose truck was being impounded when the incident occurred Monday evening, died at the scene, police said.
Family members identified the deceased California Highway Patrol officerÂ as 33-year-old Andre Moye, according to KABC-TV.Â Debbie Howard, a family member of Moye, told NBC4Â Moye was a good person and loved his job.
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“I’ve been knowing him since he was a baby,” she said in tears. “I don’t understand. I just don’t understand.”
CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley expressed his condolences in a tweet. “I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” he wrote.
Diaz called the incident “a long and horrific gun battle.”Â
The patrol officer was doing paperwork to impound the pickupÂ when the suspectÂ reached in, grabbed a rifle and fatally wounded the officer, authorities said. PoliceÂ did not immediately say what prompted the officer to stop and impound the truck.
Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley told the Los Angeles TimesÂ she was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet piercedÂ her front windshield.
Charles Childress, 56, a retired Marine from Moreno Valley whoÂ was in the car behind Moctezuma, helpedÂ the family crawl to the bottom of a bridge to hide,Â the Times reported. âHeâs my hero,â Moctezuma said.
KABC-TV reported that Dennis Luther of Riverside identified the gunman as his son, Aaron Luther, 49. Luther said he watched the shootout on television.Â
âItâs hard. I love him. And Iâm sorry for the policeman,â he told KABC-TV. âIâm devastated. I just canât believe it.â
Riverside shootout: California Highway Patrol officer killed, 2 others injured
Luther said his son served prison time for attempted murder but was released more than a decade ago. He said he didn’t know how his son had access to a gun, which is illegal for felons to possess.Â
He said his son recently appeared depressedÂ and had knee pain and marital problems. But his son was devoted to his two children and a stepchild, he said.Â
âHe lived for his kids. Thatâs what motivated him,â Luther said. âSo I donât know what overcame him. I mean, I wish I did know.â
Contributing: The Associated Press