Police: Saturday chase began with shootout in Heflin
by Rachael Griffin
rgriffin@annistonstar.com
Dec 18, 2012 | 8767 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sheriff's deputies on Saturday guard the entrance to a trailer park in Cleburne County where authorities say Romero Roberto Moya killed his three brothers and injured a 19-month-old boy. (Photo by Paige Rentz/The Anniston Star)
Sheriff's deputies on Saturday guard the entrance to a trailer park in Cleburne County where authorities say Romero Roberto Moya killed his three brothers and injured a 19-month-old boy. (Photo by Paige Rentz/The Anniston Star)
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A man killed by police in Oxford on Saturday fired his first shots at police that day in Heflin, according to an account released by authorities there Tuesday.

Before Romero Roberto Moya, 33, was shot dead by Oxford police in Coldwater, he fired an assault rifle at police officers and a sheriff’s deputy in Heflin, after his wife had called authorities for help, according to an account released to The Anniston Star by Heflin police Tuesday.

Three brothers of Moya, Lorenzo Moya, 36, Miguel Moya, 23, and Ismael Moya, 17, were found dead in a trailer park south of Heflin on Saturday. Authorities have said they believe Moya shot his brothers that morning.

Attempts on Tuesday to reach A.J. Benefield, Heflin’s interim police chief, for more information were unsuccessful.

According to the account provided by police Tuesday, Moya’s wife called authorities at 10:33 a.m. Saturday to report that her husband was acting violently. Cleburne County Sheriff’s Deputy Jamie Cofield responded to the call, with assistance from Heflin police officers Scott Winslett and Jackie Stovall.

Before the officers reached Moya’s address, they encountered the couple on Alabama 9, near Millwork Sales & Surplus, according to the account. Moya’s wife had fled from him and been picked up by what police described as passing “good Samaritans,” who also called 911.

Moya, his wife and the passersby and the officer all pulled into the parking area of the business, the account says, and Moya opened fire on the officers, striking Winslett’s patrol car. The officers returned fire, and Moya fled south in a vehicle on Alabama 9, the release says. That chase led to Oxford, where police say Moya crashed the car he was driving and began another firefight when officers caught up to him.

There, Stovall was injured by gunfire, and received aid from Alabama State Troopers who had joined in the chase, John Lewis and Tony Ross, according to the police account. Lewis applied pressure to Stovall’s wounded groin, slowing his bleeding, and Ross cleared the injured man’s airway. Cofield, the sheriff’s deputy, provided covering fire while the troopers helped Stovall, the release says.

On Tuesday, Stovall was in stable condition and still recovering, according to Dennis Green, chief investigator for the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office.

Green said investigators are still uncertain how Moya obtained the assault rifle used in the shootings.

“We don’t know how he got the gun, people sell them at yard sales and gun shows … anyone that wants a gun is going to get it. Most people who are in the drug business, they probably know how to get one faster than I could,” Green said.

Moya’s 19-month-old son, also injured in the shootings in Cleburne County, was still being treated in Atlanta at Egleston Children’s Hospital, Green said Tuesday. Attempts to learn more about the boy’s condition were unsuccessful.

Moya, authorities said on Monday, was in the United States illegally after having been deported in April following a one-year prison sentence on a cocaine trafficking charge stemming from a 2011 arrest in Oxford.

Green said he was talking to people who knew the Moya family Tuesday morning. He said one man who lived in the same trailer park told Green the family mostly kept to themselves.

“They couldn’t give me anything that I can go on,” Green said.

Green said the investigation is continuing.

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