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Suspect In Riverside Murder Of CHP Officer Identified As Convicted Felon Aaron Luther

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) – A 49-year-old man suspected of killing a California Highway Patrol officer and wounding two other CHP officers in Riverside Monday evening -- before he himself was killed in a shootout -- had an extensive criminal history.

Aaron Luther, Suspect In Murder Of CHP Officer, A Convicted Felon
Law enforcement officers engage in a shootout with a suspect on the 215 Freeway in Riverside, Calif., on Aug. 12, 2019. The suspect, identified as Aaron Luther, shot and killed a CHP officer and wounded two other CHP officers. (OC Hawk)

Authorities Tuesday identified Aaron Luther as the suspect who engaged law enforcement officers in a massive shootout just off the 215 Freeway.

Luther had previously served prison time for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback confirmed to CBS2 Tuesday.

Suspect In Riverside Murder Of CHP Officer Identified As Aaron Luther, A Convicted Felon
A 2015 booking photo for 49-year-old Aaron Luther, who authorities say was involved in a shootout which left one California Highway Patrol officer dead on Aug. 13, 2019.

Just after 5:30 p.m. Monday, a CHP officer identified as 34-year-old Andre Moye Jr., pulled over Luther's pickup truck in the area of Box Springs Boulevard and Eastridge Avenue, just west of the 215 Freeway.

Moye decided he was going to impound the vehicle, according to CHP. While he was filling out paperwork and waiting for a tow truck, Luther went to his truck, pulled out a rifle and opened fire on Moye, who was able to radio for help. Moye was airlifted to Riverside University Health System Medical Center, where he later died from his wounds.

(credit: California Highway Patrol)

Two more CHP officers who rushed to Moye's aid were both wounded by Luther in a shootout, officials said.

Multiple Riverside County Sheriff's deputies, Riverside police officers and CHP officers swarmed the scene. Luther was killed in the exchange of gunfire.

"It was a long and horrific gun battle," Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz told reporters Monday night.

Luther's father, Dennis Luther, told KNX 1070 by phone Tuesday morning that his family is devastated.

"We're lost, you know what I mean?" Dennis Luther said. "I cried all night."

The two wounded CHP officers were being treated at Riverside University Health System Medical Center and were both expected to survive. One of them, a four-year veteran of the agency, sustained major leg injuries and was in critical condition. He is expected to survive and recover, CHP Inland Division Chief Bill Dance said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

"I visited with the officer this morning, and he was conscious and talking and good spirits and is expected to make a recovery," Dance said.

The second officer, a six-year veteran, suffered minor leg injuries. He was treated and released.

Moye was a three-year CHP veteran who had been a motorcycle officer for the past year.

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

At this time, investigators do not have a motive for the shooting. It's unclear if Luther was wanted on any outstanding warrants.

Eastridge Avenue remained closed Tuesday as detectives continue to collect evidence from the scene.


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