sunny.png
Friday August 23rd, 2019 11:37AM

Wild California freeway shootout leaves officer, gunman dead

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.

One wounded officer was in critical condition and the other was serious but both are expected to survive, Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said Tuesday.

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.

"He was so kind," his stepmother, Debbie Howard, told KTVU-TV. "You're not going to hear one bad word about him. He loved this job."

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.

Dennis Luther 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."

Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the California 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."

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Wild California freeway shootout leaves officer, gunman dead
Authorities say a California Highway Patrol officer was killed and two officers others wounded during a "long and horrific gun battle" during a traffic stop on a freeway near Los Angeles
12:25PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Dreadful heat, humidity to invade South as misery continues
Forecasters say most of the South _ from Texas to parts of South Carolina _ will be under heat advisories and warnings as temperatures will feel as high as 117 degrees
12:15PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Greta Thunberg's sailing adventure no pleasure cruise
Greta Thunberg's two-week voyage to the United States will be no pleasure cruise
12:14PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Stocks soar after US delays plans for some China tariffs
Stocks tore higher on Wall Street after the U.S. government said it would delay new tariffs on certain goods imported from China and remove tariffs on other goods entirely
11:42AM ( 47 minutes ago )
Authorities plan update in probe of Dayton mass shooting
Authorities are working to piece together what led to a mass shooting in Ohio after accusing the gunman's friend of buying body armor used in the massacre
11:42AM ( 47 minutes ago )
Protesters cripple Hong Kong airport for a 2nd day
Pro-democracy demonstrators severely crippled Hong Kong's international airport for a second day, forcing authorities to cancel all remaining flights as the city's pro-Beijing leader warned that the protesters had pushed events onto a "path of no return"
11:41AM ( 48 minutes ago )
AP National News
Dreadful heat, humidity to invade South as misery continues
Forecasters say most of the South _ from Texas to parts of South Carolina _ will be under heat advisories and warnings as temperatures will feel as high as 117 degrees
12:15PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Greta Thunberg's sailing adventure no pleasure cruise
Greta Thunberg's two-week voyage to the United States will be no pleasure cruise
12:14PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Riot police clash with protesters at Hong Kong airport
Pro-democracy demonstrators severely crippled Hong Kong's international airport for a second day, forcing authorities to cancel all remaining flights as the city's pro-Beijing leader warned that the protesters had pushed events onto a "path of no return"
12:13PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Riot police move into Hong Kong airport terminal
Chaos has broken out at Hong Kong's airport as riot police move into the terminal to confront protesters who shut down operations at the busy transport hub for two straight days
12:06PM ( 23 minutes ago )
CHP officers expected to survive gunfight injuries
Police say two California Highway Patrol officers remain hospitalized following a shootout that killed a fellow officer
12:03PM ( 27 minutes ago )