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)
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Shootout on California freeway overpass leaves officer, gunman dead

8 Comments
By STEFANIE DAZIO

A driver stopped by police pulled out a rifle and opened fire, killing a California Highway Patrol officer and wounding two others during a shootout on a freeway overpass that left the gunman dead and sent terrified motorists running for cover.

Officer Andrew Moye, Jr., 34, died in the gunfight as dozens of bullets flew late Monday afternoon in Riverside, east of Los Angeles. Two civilians received minor injuries.

The other officers were both shot in their legs, CHP Chief Bill Dance said Tuesday. One was in critical condition and the other was serious but both are expected to survive, he said.

The gunman was identified by the Riverside County coroner's office as Aaron Luther, 49, and authorities say he had a criminal record that included an attempted murder conviction in 1994.

Moye had pulled over a pickup truck and was doing paperwork to impound it when Luther, who was outside the vehicle, reached in, grabbed a rifle and fatally wounded the officer, authorities said. Moye was able to radio for help and other officers engaged in a "long and horrific gun battle," Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said.

Authorities said it was unclear what prompted Moye to stop the truck or for Luther to open fire.

Moye's flag-draped body was removed from a hospital and placed in a hearse Monday night. Motorcycle officers then led a procession as the hearse was driven to the county coroner's office.

"I am devastated by the tragedy," CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet. Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered flags at half-staff Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Relatives said Moye had been with the CHP for about four years.

Dance said Moye was an "outstanding" officer devoted to public service.

"His mother told me this was his dream job and he loved going to work," he said. "It's what he always wanted to do."

He is survived by his wife, mother, father, stepfather, two brothers, two sisters and a large extended family, Dance said.

The gunfight occurred during the afternoon commute when traffic was heavy.

Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley, told the Los Angeles Times she was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her front windshield. Charles Childress, 56, a retired Marine also from Moreno Valley, was in the car behind her and led the family as they crawled to the bottom of a bridge to hide.

"He's my hero," Moctezuma said.

Luther's father, Dennis Luther, said he watched the events unfold 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."

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," Dennis Luther said.

He said his son recently seemed depressed, was having knee pain and marital problems but was devoted to his children.

"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."

Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Aaron Luther was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted second-degree murder and an enhancement for the use of a firearm, as well as burglary charges. He began his sentence in 1994 and was paroled in April 2004.

Court records show Luther was arrested in 2007 on felony assault charges and took a no-contest plea deal that sentenced him to 90 days in jail. He also was arrested in 2017 on suspicion of driving while his license was suspended or revoked, records show.

As a felon, Luther was not supposed to have a gun and his father said he's not sure how his son came to possess one.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said traffic stops and domestic violence calls are the most dangerous situations for police.

"You have no idea who's in the car, what they're up to, whether they're armed," Pasco said. "A police officer stopping a car on the side of the road doesn't know anything about the driver."

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


8 Comments
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RIP Officer Moye. Condolences to your family, friends, fellow officers and community.

Thank you to all law enforcement and other emergency services workers for putting your lives on the line every minute of every day to protect the general population, especially from criminals able to possess weapons that only the military and police should own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

".....Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Aaron Luther was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted second-degree murder and an enhancement for the use of a firearm, as well as burglary charges. He began his sentence in 1994 and was paroled in April 2004.

Court records show Luther was arrested in 2007 on felony assault charges and took a no-contest plea deal that sentenced him to 90 days in jail. He also was arrested in 2017 on suspicion of driving while his license was suspended or revoked, records show.*

As a felon, Luther was not supposed to have a gun and his father said he's not sure how his son came to possess one....."*

Seems like a break down once again in the system of gun ownership.

A system that has the backing of the Senior members of Govt. who are in bed with the nra.

Random violence and killings by guns will never begin to decrease with the elevated level of agitation on display by agro males in particular.

When is the Govt (read Trump) going to come down heavy on all this.

Tens of 1,000s of gun deaths a year. Like wth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Random violence and killings by guns will never begin to decrease

But they have been for years. Gotta love knee-jerk reactions.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"Authorities said it was unclear what prompted Moye to stop the truck"

We won't ever actually know, but in these cases I just go ahead and assume it was utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution. Most Americans take it lying down. You are going to have to excuse me for not offering some words of support for American police.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Norman Goodman - You are going to have to excuse me for not offering some words of support for American police.

Since you have chosen to jump to the conclusion that this convicted felon must have been justified when he chose to murder a police officer, you are not excused. According to the story -

Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Aaron Luther was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted second-degree murder and an enhancement for the use of a firearm, as well as burglary charges. He began his sentence in 1994 and was paroled in April 2004.

Court records show Luther was arrested in 2007 on felony assault charges and took a no-contest plea deal that sentenced him to 90 days in jail. He also was arrested in 2017 on suspicion of driving while his license was suspended or revoked, records show.

As a felon, Luther was not supposed to have a gun and his father said he's not sure how his son came to possess one.

This monster has a long established history of violence. I suspect that he has had many supporters through out his criminal career.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You are going to have to excuse me for not offering some words of support for American police.

This is just stupid. Sure, there are problems with some police. But the police are an absolute necessary, and the majority of them are in it to protect their people, and take that seriously. That deserves respect.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Fizzbit thanks for your reply.

Yes gun deaths have decreased since the horror peaks of the early 90's

But since the 2000s the decrease has essentially halted or stabilized.

A wiki comment -

"...Statistics

Unlike other high-income OECD countries, most homicides in the U.S. are gun homicides. In the U.S. in 2011, 67 percent of homicide victims were killed using a firearm: 66 percent of single-victim homicides and 79 percent of multiple-victim homicides.

In 1993, there were seven gun homicides for every 100,000 people; by 2013, that figure had fallen to 3.6, according to Pew Research. Since that time, gun homicides appear to be on the rise again, according to the FBI data.[citation needed]

The FBI further breaks down gun homicides by weapon type. Handguns have been consistently responsible for the majority of fatalities.

In 2016, there were 11,004 gun homicides (65% handguns, 6% rifle/shotgun, 30% other/unknown type)

In 2014, there were 8,124 gun homicides (68% handguns, 6% rifle/shotgun, 25% other/unknown type).

In 2010, there were 8,775 gun homicides (68% handguns, 8% rifle/shotgun, 23% other/unknown type).

In 2001, there were 8,890 gun homicides (78% handguns, 10% rifle/shotguns, 12% other/unknown type).

The Centers for Disease Control reports that there were 11,078 gun homicides in the U.S. in 2010. This is higher than the FBI's count...."

Hardly a kneejerk.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

arrestpaul wrote: "Since you have chosen to jump to the conclusion that this convicted felon must have been justified" Yep. I am stuck choosing between a convicted felon and an American cop. To me its like choosing between a gang member and a mafia goon. Yeah, we tell little kids that police are heroes and there to protect and serve just like it says on their badges. But in 2019 its easier to grow up with all this access we have to thousands of videos of cops on the job and trying to rectify that with our rights and even basic logic and finding you can't....and growing up in the process.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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