MORENO VALLEY (CNS) - A woman was killed today outside a Moreno Valley gas station, around the time that a Riverside County sheriff's deputy and a landscaper were injured in a confrontation with at least one armed suspect in a remote area less than three miles away.
The woman, whose identity was not immediately released, was found dead in her SUV -- possibly from a gunshot to the head -- outside a gas station at Sunnymead Ranch Road and Old Lake Drive, according to reports from the scene.
The circumstances of her death were under investigation, with authorities still attempting to piece together what might have happened.
Around 2:25 p.m., a deputy called for assistance in the 8500 block of Pigeon Pass Road, near Mount Vernon Avenue, in a sparsely populated location known as BoxCanyon. The lawman reported an unspecified injury and needed help.
“The call came out as an assault with a deadly weapon. That's what we have right now,” Deputy Albert Martinez told City News Service. “I don't know yet whether the deputy was shot, fell and hurt his leg or what.”
The deputy's condition was not believed to be life-threatening.
According to sheriff's radio broadcasts, the deputy encountered a man wearing body armor and armed with an AR-15 rifle. There were initial reports of three to five armed assailants, but witnesses may have over-estimated and lumped a landscaping crew in with the shooter and his cohorts, sheriff's officials said.
Authorities confirmed that shots were fired outside a house at 8555 PigeonPass. A gardener at the location apparently leapt into a ravine for cover and broke his leg. A Riverside police armored personnel carrier was brought to the scene to transport a rescue team to retrieve the 24-year-old victim, who was pulled to safety and loaded into an ambulance around 4:15 p.m.
A SWAT unit remained positioned outside the residence on Pigeon Pass Road, cautiously attempting to determine whether any suspects were still on the premises.
Dozens of Riverside police officers were also at the scene, assisting with road closures and the investigation.