Flags to fly at half-staff for CHP officer killed in shootout near Riverside freeway

Flags will fly at half-staff on Tuesday in the state Capitol in honor of the California Highway Patrol officer who killed on a Riverside freeway. 

"Our hearts ache over the tragic loss," Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted, expressing his condolences for Officer Andre Moye Jr., 33. He will be "remembered for his commitment to service and the community of Riverside County."

In an interview, his devastated stepmother, Debbie Howard, said: "He was so kind. You're not going to hear one bad word about him. He loved this job."

Moye was killed about 5:30 p.m. Monday, after he pulled over the shooter in a white GMC pickup for an unknown reason off the 215 freeway and decided to impound his truck. The shooter opened fire, authorities said, killing Moye and wounding two other officers before he was shot to death in hail of gunfire. 

Shortly before he was killed, Moye had called for a tow truck. He was filling out paperwork when the bullets started flying, officials said at a news conference. 

The shooter was identified by family as 49-year-old Aaron Luther of Beaumont, who was a felon and should not have been in possession of a gun, his father told FOX 11. 

"We know his motive for this crime," Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said Monday night.

Moye called for help and three other CHP officers arrived, who immediately faced gunfire and two were hit, Parker said.

A Riverside police officer and three Riverside County sheriff's deputies also arrived and traded shots with the man before killing him at the scene, Diaz said.

"It was a long and horrific gun battle," the chief said.

CHP officer killed, 2 others injured after gun battle erupts in Riverside

A shooting broke out Monday evening between a suspect and California Highway Patrol officers in the area of Eastridge Avenue and the southbound 215 Freeway in Riverside that ended with a CHP officer losing his life, the suspect being killed, and two other officers hurt.

Video showed the gunman, apparently clad in black and wielding a military assault-style rifle, trading fire with officers and then retreating to crouch behind the front of his truck for cover, still trading shots. 

Video after the shooting showed bullet holes in the front windows of two patrol cars and large holes blown in their back windows.

Parker said Moye was taken by helicopter to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Another officer was hospitalized in critical condition but the third had only minor injuries. 

Police earlier had said at least one civilian had been slightly injured by flying glass.

Parker said two civilians received superficial injuries and "they're going to be OK." Parker said. 

Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley told Fox 11 that she was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her front windshield. The bullet barely missed "my head and my two kids. I told my kids to get down and duck but they couldn't, their seatbelts were on," she said.

Charles Childress, 56, a retired Marine from Moreno Valley, was in the car behind her. 

He led the family as they crawled to the bottom of a bridge to hide and none were harmed.

"He's my hero," Moctezuma said.

Investigators didn't immediately know where the gunman came from or where he was headed, Diaz said.

After the shooting, dozens of law enforcement officers gathered outside of the hospital in nearby Moreno Valley. Snipers were posted on the roof as a precaution.

Dozens lined up and saluted as the officer's flag-draped body was removed from the hospital and placed in a hearse. Motorcycle officers then led a procession as the hearse was driven to the county coroner's office. 

FOX 11's Gigi Graciette, KTVU's Cristina Rendon and Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.