Officers Down: One CHP officer dead, two others wounded in shootout near freeway


A horrifying attack Monday night in California left at least one California Highway Patrol officer dead and two others wounded.

It happened shortly after 5:30 p.m. off the 215 Freeway.  Police say it all began after a CHP officer pulled over a white GMC pickup truck and decided to impound it.

Shortly after, chaos began.

CHP Officer killed

The officer had been on a motorcycle.  At some point while the officer was filling out paperwork, the suspect grabbed a rifle from inside the truck and opened up fire on the officer. 


That officer was 34-year-old Andrew Moye.  He returned fire, even though he’d been hit, and was able to radio for help.

“He called for a tow truck and was filling out the necessary paperwork” when the driver pulled a rifle from the truck and opened fire, said Scott Parker, assistant chief at the CHP’s Inland Division.


The officer called for help and three other CHP officers arrived along with three deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and at least one officer from the Riverside Police Department.


Officer Moye was killed at the scene.  A second officer was in critical condition Monday night after the shooting and a third CHP officer was left with minor injuries. 


The suspect, who was not identified by police, died at the scene. Family members, however, have identified the suspected gunman as Aaron Luther, a Beaumont resident.


It’s not clear whose gunfire killed the suspect.  Officials say that will be determined by the Riverside County coroner.


Two other civilians are believed to have suffered from minor injuries as well.

Witnesses described the chaos, saying bullets “flew through their windows”.

One of those witnesses was 31-year-old Jennifer Moctezuma, who was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her from windshield.


Luckily it didn’t hit anyone… and in the car behind them was retired Marine Charles Childress.  The 56-year-old Marine from Moreno Valley heard the gunfire and saw the bullet hit the windshield.  He said that when he heard the children screaming, he knew he had to get the family to safety.

“I was 21 years in the Marine Corps, and my training just kicked in,” Childress said.

He led the woman and her children to the bottom of the bridge away from the gunfire.  None of them were harmed.

“He’s my hero,” Moctezuma said. “He’s my hero.”

Officials say dozens of rounds were fired at the scene.  They have not released information on the type of rifle the suspect used, but said the scene was utter chaos.

“It was a long and horrific gun battle, and resulted in a very extensive crime scene,” Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said at the news conference Monday night.

Police say they do not know where the suspect was going when he was stopped, or why he started shooting at Moye.

“We don’t know why,” Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback said. “That is all going to be part of this lengthy investigation.”

Officer Moye had been a CHP officer for almost three years.  He was assigned to the Riverside office after graduating from the CHP Academy on March 3, 2017.

A woman who identified herself as Officer Moye’s stepmother spoke with local media outlets.

The Commissioner of CHP expressed his heartache Monday night.

“I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said in a tweet Monday. “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.”


Video recorded from witnesses showed the gunman, apparently clad in black, trading fire with officers and then retreating to crouch behind the front of his truck for cover, still trading shots.


Afterwards, video released in the local media showed bullet holes in the front windows of two patrol cars and large holes blown in their back windows.

Parker said Officer Moye was taken by helicopter to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The second officer was hospitalized in critical condition – the third suffered only minor injuries and is expected to recover.


Soon after the shooting, dozens of police officers gathered outside of the hospital in nearby Moreno Valley.

As a precaution, snipers were posted on the roof.

Dozens lined up and saluted as the officer’s flag-draped body was brought out of the hospital and placed in a hearse.


A procession was then lead by motorcycle officers as the hearse was driven to the county coroner’s office.

The line of officers paying tribute in the procession seemed to stretch on forever.


The Governor, who has long come under fire for policies that have lead to the death of police officers, made sure to put out a statement of support Twitter:

“Our hearts ache over the tragic loss of @CHP_HQ‘s own Officer Andre Moye — who will be remembered for his commitment to service and the community of Riverside County. Jen and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow officers who are grieving tonight.”

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