A Riverside police officer was in intensive care Sunday after suffering a gunshot wound to the neck during a roadside traffic stop, authorities said. His attacker later shot himself to death inside a nearby home.
Officer Charles Schiortino, 24, and his partner had pulled over a van that they spotted weaving on Wood Road on Saturday night. Schiortino walked up to the van and began talking to the driver, who fired on the officer at near-point-blank range, severing his jugular vein and carotid artery, according to police.
Schiortino's partner opened fire on the van as it sped away, then called for help. A California Highway Patrol officer arrived and helped staunch the massive blood flow from Schiortino's neck, while a University of California police officer found the van, with its lights on and one tire blown out, nearby.
Witnesses in the residential neighborhood reported seeing a man clambering over fences in adjacent yards. The gunman apparently broke into the back of one home, opened fire on the family inside and then fled out the front. The residents, who were unharmed, pointed Riverside County sheriff's deputies toward a second house nearby, where they discovered that the gunman had shot out the rear sliding door of that house, entered while the family inside hid upstairs and shot himself to death, police said.
Police identified the gunman as Tyrone J. Kirksey, 32, and said he was wanted on a parole warrant. Kirksey, who has an extensive record of drug-related and assault charges, was released from state prison about two months ago, Sgt. Don Taulli said.
"He was wanted by his parole officer," Taulli said. "We're just going to make the assumption that's why he did what he did."
Kirksey also may have killed himself because he was a candidate to be punished under the "three strikes" law, Taulli speculated.