A California Highway Patrol officer and gunman were dead and two other CHP officers were injured following a shootout near the 215 Freeway in the Riverside area Monday, officials said.
The suspect had grabbed a weapon and started firing after CHP pulled over his vehicle on an overpass at Eucalyptus Avenue, Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback said.
Railsback could not provide information on the surviving officer’s conditions.
Officials haven’t provided any further detail about what led up to the fatal confrontation. But witness Charles Childress said the truck involved appeared to have been pulled over a while before gunfire erupted.
Childress said he was driving to Sycamore Canyon Park with his dog when he saw two CHP units had stopped a white pickup on the side of the overpass.
“Obviously they’d been there for a while,” Childress said. “The gentleman was outside the car. It looks like they had let him take his property out of his truck and were getting ready to tow it.”
After about 10 or 20 minutes at the park, Childress went back across the overpass and heard gunfire. Having spent 21 years in the Marine Corps, he said he “recognized them as shots automatically.”
Multiple gunshots and sirens can be heard in video shot by a freelance photographer at the scene.
The footage shows two officers on the ground near CHP vehicles.
A Moreno Valley Police Department officer pulls a long gun from the back of his patrol car. He and other officers are positioned behind their vehicles with guns raised.
Another officer then appears to drag one wounded officer along the pavement, away from the gunfire. Three officers load the wounded man into a Moreno Valley patrol car that pulls up.
“We need a tourniquet,” one of the officers can be heard saying.
The police car speeds away.
Another uniformed officer appears to remain at the scene, on the ground, near a CHP motorcycle parked behind a white pickup truck.
Several other officers carried the officer into a Riverside police helicopter that landed on the overpass. The officer was later seen being wheeled into the Riverside University Health System Medical Center.
Meanwhile, more officers surrounded the pickup truck with guns drawn.
Another individual appears to be down on the ground in front of the truck. An officer can be seen tending to the person, but it’s not clear if he is alive.
There was blood visible on the hood of the GMC pickup, and a large long gun could be seen on the sidewalk nearby.
Several bullet holes could be seen in the windshield of a CHP SUV, and the rear window of a cruiser appeared to have been shot out.
A young child appeared to be getting medical aide near the scene as well, the video showed. The child was standing and did not appear seriously injured.
Childress said he saw a bullet go through the windshield of the car in front of him that was carrying 6-year-old twins and their mother.
The veteran said he sprang into action when he heard the children screaming and led the family to a safer spot.
“That’s what we train for in the Marine Corps,” Childress said. “I’m just glad the kids are OK.”
The kids’ mother Jennifer Moctezuma, said the bullet went straight through the middle of her windshield, passing her head and in between her two children.
“At first my mind went blank,” Moctezuma said. “Then I told my kids to get down and duck, but they couldn’t because they had their seatbelts on in the car seats.”
She says Childress approached just as she was able to get the kids unrestrained.
“If it wasn’t for Chuck (Childress), I don’t know what we would have done,” Moctezuma said. “I’ve heard that cars got shot more after that.”
Moctezuma was unsure whether the bullet that pierced her vehicle was fired by CHP or the suspect.
Railsback told the Associated Press that a bystander in another car was hurt by shards of glass.
At 6 p.m. CHP said the freeway’s auxiliary lanes and off-ramps would be closed at Eucalyptus Avenue for an unknown duration.
Please say some prayers for the CHP officers involved in a shooting near I-215 at Box Springs/Eastridge in Riverside. MM
— Melissa Melendez (@asmMelendez) August 13, 2019