The alleged gunman in separate Moreno Valley incidents that left two people dead and a police officer wounded, prompting an hourslong manhunt, was identified Friday along with one of his victims.
Alex Anderson, 34, whose body was found Tuesday, allegedly fatally shot 74-year-old Wilma Patterson and killed Derek Hardy, 58, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Patterson and Hardy were found dead by police responding to two crime scenes during a chaotic series of events Tuesday afternoon. Hardy’s name had not been released until Friday.
Anderson was “known to the victims,” Deputy Alberto Martinez said Friday. Martinez did not know how Anderson was linked to the victims, who were from Moreno Valley like their suspect killer.
Police initially responded to a gas station at Sunnymead Ranch Parkway and Old Lake Drive and found Patterson fatally shot about 2:30 p.m. On a city surveillance camera system, a vehicle was seen fleeing the gas station, according to police.
Shortly thereafter, an officer attempted to contact a man seen walking near the abandoned vehicle that had fled. The man opened fire and the officer was wounded, the city’s police chief said.
Multiple police agencies responded to a call of “officer down” and the search for the gunman began, prompting warnings to area residents to avoid the area. One bystander was injured during the search and had to be extricated in a SWAT armored vehicle.
Meanwhile, police discovered Hardy’s body around 4 p.m. at a homicide scene at a home on Delphinium Avenue, nearly 6 miles from the gas station.
Hardy’s killing, Patterson’s death at the gas station and the shooting at the officer were all linked, authorities said later.
It was not known when Hardy was killed; Patterson died five minutes after being shot, according to police and coroner’s reports.
About 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, a police K-9 pointed the way to Anderson’s body. He was found next to an assault rifle, not far from a home where police had been stationed during the manhunt (map), authorities said.
He died at 1:50 a.m., according to a brief coroner’s news release.
Authorities have not said how Anderson died, nor how Hardy died.
More information was expected from the Sheriff’s Department later Friday. No photo of Anderson was immediately available.