Memorial Honors a ‘Dedicated and Selfless' CHP Officer Killed in Traffic Stop Shootout

Andre Moye, Jr. was filling out paperwork at a traffic stop when a driver grabbed a rifle and opened fire, sparking a chaotic shootout with officers near a Southern California freeway

What to Know

  • Officer Andre Moye, Jr. was killed during a traffic stop when a driver pulled out a rifle and opened fire near a Riverside freeway
  • Moye had been with the highway patrol for about three years and was a motorcycle officer for about a year
  • The fatally wounded officer called for backup and responding officers engaged in a gunfight with the 49-year-old shooter

A California Highway Patrol officer killed in a shootout at a traffic stop in Riverside was remembered Tuesday for his selfless dedication to serving his community and the unwavering enthusiasm he had for his dream job.

His excitement over being part of one of the nation's most storied and well-known law enforcement agencies was on display at and away from the job, family members said at a memorial service for 34-year-old CHP Officer Andre Moye, Jr. The skilled electrician even rigged red flashing lights at his home that would go off every time there was a car chase, uncle Greg Bonstrom said.

"There is no doubt that Andre is currently lighting up heaven with his engaging smile and, possibly, red flashing lights," Bonstrom said. 

Moye was killed last week when a traffic stop in Riverside erupted into a chaotic gunfight near a Southern California freeway.  As Moye filled out paperwork, the driver he had pulled over grabbed a rifle and opened fire, setting off the gunfight east of Los Angeles.

A funeral procession escorted Moye's remains along the 2.5-mile route to Harvest Christian Fellowship church, where rows of law enforcement motorcycles were aligned in rows. Officers carried Moye's flag-draped casket into the church and lines of officers saluted.

CHP Chief Bill Dance and Commissioner Warren Stanley spoke about Moye's accomplishments and drive to serve the community where he grew up. Dance recalled the words of a supervisor.

"If we could recruit a thousand Andres, the California Highway Patrol would be in great shape for years to come," Dance said. 

After speaking, Stanley presented Moye's badge to Moyes wife, Sara, seated in the front row of the church near a CHP motorcycle and flowers.

"It's my wish to only present a badge two times -- at a graduation ceremony and at a retirement ceremony," Stanley said. "He earned that badge each and every day."

Members of Moye's family also shared memories. In remarks read by a friend, his wife Sara mentioned what she will miss about her husband.

"I'll miss his amazing smile, sense of humor, and that contagious laugh of his," she said. "I wish I could feel his arms wrapped tightly around me one more time."

His younger brother, Michael Solorio, said Moye provided 21 years of life lessons.

"Andre truly loved being a highway patrolman," Solorio said. "He would always brag to me and tell me about how great his job was.

"I'm going to miss hearing his motorcycle pull up to his command post, aka my mom's house, as he gave his iconic two revs before he came to a stop, letting everyone know he was home, and he was starving."

In the hours and days following Moye's death, colleagues from California and other parts of the country, and members of the Riverside area community have left items at a memorial outside the CHP office where the officer worked.

Moye had been with the highway patrol for about three years and was a motorcycle officer for about a year. His family said working for the highway patrol was Moye's dream job.

"Officer Moye epitomizes what a CHP officer should always be -- a dedicated and selfless public servant," CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said during the tribute. "He will not be forgotten."

Moye's name is the 231st added to the CHP Memorial Fountain on the academy grounds where he was honored last week with a bell toll ceremony. CHP officers saluted during the single bell toll, which was followed by solemn silence in recognition of Moye's sacrifice. 

In the moments after he was shot, Moye, 34, called for backup. Two responding officers were shot in the legs while frightened drivers and passengers ducked for cover from dozens of flying bullets.

Moye was born at March Air Force Base in Riverside and grew up in nearby Moreno Valley. The 2003 graduate of Valley View High School had a talent for music, playing several instruments in the school band. He also has a passion for motocross, recording his exploits on camera at the Ranch-Glen Helen Motocross track and other places.

He had been riding since he was about 2 years old.

"After I heard that, it made sense why he was such an accomplished rider," Dance said.

At 19, he applied for a first time to join the CHP. He was asked to reapply when he was 21. Moye went to school to become an electrician, eventually going into a side business with his father. After about 10 years, Moye decided it was time to pursue his dream and re-apply to the CHP.

He graduated from the CHP academy in March 2017 and was assigned to the area where he grew up. That was about a year after he married wife Sara.

The shooter, 49-year-old Aaron Luther, was killed. The wounded officers were expected to recover.

Luther was paroled from state prison in 2004 after serving about 10 years of a 12-year sentence for attempted second-degree murder with an enhancement for the use of a firearm, first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Court records show Luther also was arrested in 2007 on felony assault charges and took a no-contest plea deal that sentenced him to 90 days in jail. He also was charged with multiple felonies in San Bernardino County and pleaded no contest in 2010 to assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Southern California News Group.

As a felon, Luther was not supposed to have a gun. 

Investigators have not identified a motive for the shooting.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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