A California Highway Patrol officer was killed and two other officers were wounded in a wild shootout Monday evening off the 215 Freeway in Riverside that also left the gunman dead and motorists dodging bullets.
One of the wounded CHP officers was in critical condition Monday night while the other officer suffered minor injuries.
The suspect, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to initial reports from law enforcement at the scene, a CHP motorcycle officer stopped the driver for an unknown offense.
The suspect is believed to have opened fire on the officer after reaching into his truck and pulling out a rifle after his vehicle was impounded, according to initial reports. It is unclear why the vehicle was being impounded.
The officer returned fire, and the two other CHP officers soon arrived and engaged the suspect in a gun battle. Law enforcement officers from local agencies also arrived to help.
Dozens of rounds were fired at the scene, according to law enforcement.
It is unknown whose gunfire killed the suspect; that will be determined by the Riverside County coroner, according to officials.
Several sources said the suspect was still up and shooting when county sheriff’s deputies and a Riverside police officer arrived.
“We don’t know why,” Riverside police spokesman Ryan Railsback said of the gunman’s motive. “That is all going to be part of this lengthy investigation.”
“Please say some prayers for the CHP officers involved,” wrote state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) on Twitter.
Jennifer Moctezuma, 31, of Moreno Valley was driving home with her 6-year-old twins when a bullet flew through her front windshield.
Retired Marine Charles Childress, 56, also of Moreno Valley, was in the car behind them when he heard gunfire and saw the bullet that went through Moctezuma’s windshield.
He then heard the children screaming and knew he had to get the family out of the car in front of him.
“I was 21 years in the Marine Corps, and my training just kicked in,” Childress said.
Childress led Moctezuma and her two children, all of whom were unharmed, as they crawled down to the bottom of the bridge away from the gunfire.
“He’s my hero,” Moctezuma said. “He’s my hero.”
A California Highway Patrol dispatcher said the department responded to reports of gunfire but could not provide details. A Riverside County Fire Department dispatcher said the agency was requested to respond to Box Springs Boulevard and Eastridge Avenue.
CHP cruisers, fire engines and ambulances were on the 215 Freeway at Box Springs.
The freeway was closed, and Caltrans urged people to avoid the area. Metrolink said that the tracks near the incident had
been shut down and that trains had