The killer of three family members in Riverside on Friday was a Virginia lawman who under false pretenses developed an online romantic relationship with a teen girl who was the victims’ granddaughter and daughter, investigators said Sunday.
The suspect — who fled with the teenager after the killings and an arson fire at the victims’ home — died in a shootout that night with law enforcement in the Mojave Desert. The teen girl escaped the shootout scene unharmed.
Austin Lee Edwards, 28, of North Chesterfield, Virginia, was identified as the suspect in the killing of three Riverside residents inside their home on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (Courtesy of the Riverside Police Department)
The suspect is Austin Lee Edwards, 28, of North Chesterfield, Virginia, authorities said. Riverside detectives learned Edwards had worked for the Virginia State Police until he was recently employed at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s personnel encountered Edwards and the teen in the suspect’s red Kia Soul in the desert town of Kelso — not Needles as previously reported, the Sheriff’s Department said. At Kelso Cima Road, SWAT intercepted Edwards’ vehicle. During the pursuit, Edwards fired at deputies. Edwards lost control as the pursuit ended and he drove off the road. The teen female who had escaped was rescued by deputies before Edwards died in the shootout, the Sheriff’s Department said.