Investigators spend Sunday gathering evidence after Saturday shootings
by Rachael Griffin
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Dec 16, 2012 | 11040 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Investigators in Cleburne County work at a crime scene on Saturday. That work continued Sunday, in the aftermath of a triple homicide, police chase and the shooting death of a suspect. (Photo by Paige Rentz/The Anniston Star)
Investigators in Cleburne County work at a crime scene on Saturday. That work continued Sunday, in the aftermath of a triple homicide, police chase and the shooting death of a suspect. (Photo by Paige Rentz/The Anniston Star)
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This article has been altered to accurately reflect the name of the Oxford police unit involved in the chase.

Investigators Sunday were piecing together evidence from shootings in Cleburne County and Oxford that left three dead and two injured Saturday. Meanwhile, the Heflin Police Department reported its injured officer was recovering.

The gunman, identified by Coroner Pat Brown as Romero Roberto Moya, 33, was shot and killed Saturday afternoon by Oxford's Emergency Services Unit after a car chase that began in Cleburne County and ended in Coldwater.

“Everything kind of ended down there on Beck Road. He made a move with that assault rifle and that was all it took,” said Oxford Lt. L.G. Owens by phone Sunday. Members of Oxford's Emergency Services Unit "did what they were trained to do.”

On Saturday, the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office discovered three bodies in a trailer at a trailer park south of Heflin. None of the names of the victims had been released as of Sunday. Investigators have not yet confirmed a connection between the shooting in Heflin and the one in Oxford. Attempts to reach Cleburne County officials Sunday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Law enforcement authorities told reporters Saturday that a child believed to be younger than age 2, was injured during the shooting. The child was taken to a hospital in Georgia for treatment. Attempts to learn the child’s condition Sunday were unsuccessful.

A Heflin police officer, Jackie Stovall, was injured in Oxford after exchanging gunfire with Moya. Cleburne County authorities chased Moya, who was driving a black sedan, to U.S. 78 and Jimmy Hinton Drive, in the middle of a crowded retail district filled with holiday shoppers. Moya crashed the sedan and began firing his AK-47 at police. After Officer Stovall was shot, he was taken to Regional Medical Center for treatment. After the shooting, Moya proceeded to carjack a vehicle in Oxford and evaded police until he was stopped in Coldwater, police said.

“We’re glad he’s off the streets and no one else was hurt,” Owens said.

An update from interim police Chief A.J. Benefield on the Heflin Police Department’s Facebook page stated Officer Stovall was taken off a ventilator Sunday morning.

“The second thing he asked was, ‘Did y'all get him[?]’ I was happy to tell him yes we did, and no one else will have to worry about him doing anything like this again. Jackie said ‘thank you, and I love y’all,’” read the post from Benefield. Attempts to reach Heflin police for more on Stovall’s condition were unsuccessful.

Owens said both vehicles involved in the events were taken to the Oxford Police Department Saturday night and processed for evidence. Owens said police recovered another handgun in Moya’s vehicle and that the investigation by all agencies was ongoing.

State records show Moya was charged in March 2011 with cocaine trafficking. He was arrested in the Oxford Home Depot parking lot with a kilogram of cocaine in his possession by the Calhoun-Cleburne County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force. Investigators also discovered 12 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol when they searched Moya’s car. According to state records, Moya pleaded guilty to trafficking charges and served one year in prison.

Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.

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