Aaron Luther, a convicted felon, was named by authorities as the gunman who shot and killed a CHP officer and wounded two others after the officer pulled him over in Riverside.
Luther had a violent criminal history.
Extremely disturbing video footage emerged from a citizen who captured the suspect walking toward police with a rifle. You can see some of the videos to emerge later in this article, but be aware that they are troubling.
CHIP Commissioner Warren Stanley identified the deceased officer as Andre Moye. “I am devastated by the tragedy that unfolded earlier in Riverside. 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,” he wrote.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect, Whose Father Described Him as Depressed, Approached the Slain Officer With a Rifle During a Traffic Stop
In a press conference on the shooting, Asst. Chief Scott Parker of the CHP, said that the gun battle broke out at 5:37 p.m. on August 12, 2019.
“We had a CHP officer make a traffic stop on a white GMC pickup truck,” he said. “The officer at some point during the traffic stop determined he was going to impound the subject’s vehicle. He called for a tow truck and was filling out the necessary paperwork.”
The suspect entered his vehicle, pulled out an unknown caliber rifle, and “he engaged our officer with multiple gunshots,” said Parker.
The officer was struck but was able to broadcast that he needed assistance. Multiple agencies responded to the call for assistance.
Luther’s dad, Dennis Luther, told KABC-TV that Aaron Luther, 49, “was having physical and marital troubles” but said he didn’t know what caused his son to take the actions he did.
“It’s hard,” he said to the television station. “I love him. And I’m sorry for the policeman.”
2. Luther Spent Time in Prison for Attempted Murder
Aaron Luther had a criminal history; he spent 10 years in prison for attempted murder, ABC 7 reported. He also served time for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.
That’s not the end of his rap sheet, though. The Los Angeles Times listed these past offenses for Luther: “peace, vandalism, battery, stalking, unlawful possession of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and corporal injury on a spouse.”
The next officers on scene were CHP officers. The first two were immediately engaged with gunfire by the suspect. “Our officers returned fire,” said Parker.
“Both of those officers were struck by the suspect’s firing at them. One of them received major injuries and is in critical condition. He was transported to the hospital. The other officer received minor injuries,” he said.
A fourth CHP officer arrived and engaged the suspect with gunfire. The suspect returned fire, said Parker.
Multiple officers and deputies then responded.
There are conflicting reports about whether he was a member of the Vagos motorcycle gang, according to The Los Angeles Times. The newspaper reported that local investigators thought he was, but federal experts say he wasn’t.
3. Luther, Who Called His Wife From the Scene, Worked in Construction
Luther’s dad said he worked in construction but had knee problems that made that difficult.
According to Parker, responding officers “ultimately engaged the suspect with gunfire and the suspect was struck” and “he did succumb to his injuries at the scene.”
The first officer on scene, who made the initial traffic stop, was transported to a hospital and pronounced deceased “as a result of the gunfire from the suspect,” said Parker.
Sergio Diaz, the chief of the Riverside PD, said the incident involved a large number of law enforcement officers. “It was a long and horrific gun battle and it resulted in a very extensive crime scene,” Diaz said.
The gun battle occurred within the City of Riverside, so the Riverside police are the primary investigating agency.
Diaz said police don’t know the suspect’s “affiliations,” his motive, where he was coming from or going to. Luther does not appear to have any obvious social media presence.
Dennis Luther told ABC 7 that Luther called his wife to come get his car when he was first stopped.
4. Luther Is a Father of Two From Beaumont
According to ABC 7, Luther’s family members identified him as “a father of two from Beaumont in his late 40s.” He also had a stepson, and Dennis Luther described him as devoted to them.
Police had yet to confirm or release Aaron Luther’s name.
Citizens were imperiled by the shooting. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley reported that a bullet “flew through her front windshield.”
Retired Marine Charles Childress led her and her children to safety, according to The Times.
Luther’s rifle was recovered. The Associated Press described it as “What appeared to be an assault-style rifle.”
5. Cellphone Video Shows the Gunman With the Weapon
The cellphone video, which you can watch above, starts with a woman saying, “Oh, there’s a shooting right now.” Her voice becomes more urgent as you see a man, identified by the television station as Aaron Luther, walk toward a police vehicle with what appears to be a large weapon.
“Oh my God, there’s a guy with a f*cking rifle,” the citizen says. “Oh my God…He’s not a cop.”
The gunman continues to approach the police vehicle. The woman who shot the video had pulled over to the side of the road, according to 10News.
This post will be updated as more information is learned about Aaron Luther.