Los Angeles

Body Believed to be Gunman in Shooting Spree

The body is believed to be that of the gunman involved in Tuesday's slayings

A body found by authorities searching for a gunman who investigators say shot and killed two people in Riverside County is believed to be that of the lone suspect, police and sheriff's officials said.

Deputies were "recovering the body" found about 2:15 a.m. in the manhunt area off Pigeon Pass Road and Old Lake Drive in Moreno Valley, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

The victims' family members said they believe the shooter was a relative who suffered from a mental illness.

Detectives do not yet have an identification from the coroner on the body, but they believe there are no more outstanding suspects, Moreno Valley Police Chief Joel Ontiveros said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

"Earlier reports regarding more than one suspect being involved were not confirmed through our ongoing investigation," Ontiveros said.

The gunman involved in Tuesday's slayings is likely connected to the wounding of a deputy during a subsequent shootout that prompted a manhunt by more than 100 officers, officials said.

The shooting rampage apparently began at the Delphinium Avenue home of one of the victims, Derek Hardy. The 58-year-old husband and father of two was found dead.

The shooter then drove a few miles north to a gas station, where a woman was killed while sitting in an SUV. Witnesses told NBC4 they heard eight or nine rounds fired at the fuel station.

The slain woman’s son, Randy Green, identified her as Wilma Patterson, an 86-year-old grandmother. Green identified the man killed in the home as his 58-year-old brother-in-law.

A motive for the shooting was unclear.

Then a deputy responding to an assault with a deadly weapon call was shot during an exchange of gunfire. He was treated for minor injuries.

The shooter then disappeared into the barren hillside. He was armed with semi-automatic rifles and might have been wearing body armor, according to deputies.

A police dog was able to pick up a scent and helped lead the searchers to the gunman. An assault rifle was found near the suspect’s body in rough terrain. Officials did not say how he may have died.

Investigators were able to track the shooter driving rapidly from one location to the other by looking at surveillance video that was captured by some of the city's 300 cameras.

The shooter abandoned his car on Pigeon Pass Road, where he frightened two landscapers, one of whom fell and broke a hip, investigators said.

A fund was started for the family of Patterson and Hardy. Donations can be made here.

Tony Shin and Willian Avila contributed to this report.

Contact Us