Riverside, CA – California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Andre Moye was murdered in the line of duty on Monday evening as he was completing paperwork in order to have a vehicle towed.
Two other CHP Officers were wounded – one critically – during the “long and horrific gun battle” that ensued, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said, according to USA Today.
Two bystanders suffered superficial injuries, and are expected to recover, police said.
The incident began in the area of Eastridge/Eucalyptus Avenue and Box Springs Boulevard at approximately 5:35 p.m. on Aug. 12 when Officer Moye, 34, pulled over the driver of a white GMC pickup, The Press-Enterprise reported.
The driver was later identified as 49-year-old Aaron Luther, according to USA Today.
Luther previously served time in prison for attempted murder and was released onto the streets over 10 years ago, according to his father, Dennis Luther.
At some point during the traffic stop, Officer Moye called for a tow truck and told the suspect that he was going to impound the pickup, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Luther called his wife to come pick him up and the tow truck was already on scene when she arrived, Dennis said, according to USA Today.
As the officer was completing paperwork associated with the vehicle impound, Luther grabbed a rifle out of his truck and opened fire on him, CHP Inland Division Assistant Chief Scott Parker told reporters on Monday night, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“[Luther’s wife] said she heard ‘pop, pop, pop’… gunfire, and then a bullet went through the windshield of her car,” Dennis recounted, according to USA today.
Although he was mortally wounded, Officer Moye was able to both return fire and to send out a radio call for backup, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Three additional CHP officers raced to the scene, followed by three Riverside County sheriff’s deputies and at least one Riverside police officer.
Police said that dozens of rounds were fired during the lengthy shootout.
“It was a long and horrific gun battle, and resulted in a very extensive crime scene,” Chief Diaz told reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, was on her way home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet pierced her vehicle’s windshield, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Charles Childress, a 56-year-old retired U.S. Marine, witnessed the round hitting the woman’s car as he was traveling directly behind them and helped to lead her and her terrified children to safety at the bottom of the bridge.
Video footage of the scene showed patrol cars riddled with large bullet holes, the Deseret Sun reported.
Luther was also fatally shot during the encounter, police said.
The Riverside County coroner will determine whose gunfire killed him, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The gunman’s motive has not been released.
“We don’t know why,” Riverside Police Department Spokesman Ryan Railsback said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “That is all going to be part of this lengthy investigation.”
“I don’t know what overcame him,” Dennis said of his son, according to USA Today. “I mean, I wish I did know.”
Officer Moye was transported to Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley by helicopter, The Press-Enterprise reported.
Snipers were posted on the hospital roof as a precaution as dozens of law enforcement officers gathered together outside the building to salute the fallen officer’s flag-draped body, according to USA Today.
Armored vehicles were also staged at both ends of the hospital’s emergency room entrance, The Press-Enterprise reported.
“I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley tweeted on Monday night. “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,” Commissioner Stanley wrote.
Officer Moye graduated from the CHP Academy on Mar. 3, 2017, and was subsequently assigned to the Riverside office, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“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,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement, according to The Press-Enterprise.
Officer Moye leaves behind his wife, Sara, as well as his parents, stepfather, and siblings.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of California Highway Patrol Officer Andre Moye, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Andre Moye, your life mattered.