By Christopher Weber, AP
A gunman who ambushed officers outside a California Central Coast police station, shooting one in the head, also may have killed a homeless man found slain execution-style on nearby railroad tracks, authorities said.
A hunt was underway Thursday for a suspect identified as Mason James Lira, 26, a transient from the Monterey area of the Central Coast.
He’s believed to be the man with dark curly hair and beard who opened fire at the downtown Paso Robles Police Department before dawn Wednesday and then eluded an hours-long search.
A dispatcher monitoring the department’s security cameras spotted the man.
“We feel that this was an ambush, that he planned it, that he intended for officers to come out of the Police Department and to assault them,” Sheriff Ian Parkinson said.
Officers called for help from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, the Atascadero Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, authorities said.
“The suspect began firing at police cars as they entered the downtown area,” Parkinson said.
Two deputies who arrived to search the area heard gunshots but didn’t see the attacker until they were out of their patrol car and taking fire, the sheriff said.
One deputy was shot in the head. His partner returned fire and dragged the deputy to cover behind a police car, the sheriff said.
The deputy, whose name wasn’t released, had been on the force for two years. He had a bullet lodged in his head and was hospitalized in serious but stable condition, Parkinson said.
“He’s not out of the woods,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous time.”
The downtown area was searched for hours but the attacker wasn’t located and is believed to have left the area, authorities said.
Surveillance camera photos from a downtown hotel and an ale house were released of the suspect, a young man in a long-sleeved shirt.
Some two dozen detectives were investigating with help from the FBI.
Shots were fired at five downtown locations, and some buildings were hit, including a Department of Motor Vehicles office, Parkinson said. However, they were not targeted, he added.
During the search, business owners contacted Paso Robles police to report seeing a body near the train station. Officers found the body of a 58-year-old man on the tracks.
He appeared to be a transient who was camping out overnight and he was shot in the back of the head at close range, Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis said.
“We do believe it’s linked to our ambush, active shooter situation,” the chief said.
However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether he was shot before or after the attack on the police station.
The police chief urged family or friends to convince the gunman to surrender.
“There’s no need for further bloodshed. There’s no need for further violence in our community,” he said.
The attack on the police station appeared unprovoked and investigators weren’t sure of a motive, authorities said.
Paso Robles is an unlikely spot for such violence. The bustling community 175 miles (282 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles is a tourist destination and centerpiece of the wine industry on California’s Central Coast.
The violence came just five days after another unlikely location, the community of Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County farther north on the California coast, was the scene of an ambush on police.
Santa Cruz sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed and another deputy injured Saturday in an attack allegedly carried out by an Air Force sergeant armed with homemade bombs, an AR-15 rifle and other weapons. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said the suspect, Steven Carrillo, was intent on killing officers.
Carrillo, 32, was arrested and the FBI is investigating whether he has links to the killing of a federal security officer who was shot outside the U.S. courthouse in Oakland during a protest against police brutality on May 29.
The FBI also is assisting in the shooting of the deputy in San Luis Obispo County, although the sheriff said there’s no clear link between the other shootings, although over time the investigation could lead there.
Parkinson said there was no local event or imminent arrest that might have prompted the violence. He also said investigators didn’t know if the attack was connected to anger swelling nationwide at police over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis officers. He called Floyd’s death unjust and horrific.
“You see what’s happening nationally, you see the riots, you see the looting, you see the acts of violence occurring … there’s naturally fear as a result of that,” he said. “So trying to calm the community has been our goal.”
“So trying to calm the community has been our goal.”
…And inciting violence has been the goal of the media, democrat politicians and activists, and our moral leaders, like Al Sharpton.
…and Paso Robles is not a “bustling community” by any means. Been traveling to/thru that town for three decades, and while scenic, it’s not exactly a hotspot for excitement. Rather boring, actually.
Yeah. I always liked it there because of why you just stated.
Is the government going to negotiate with the far left occupiers and then kill their leaders in an ambush like they did LaVoy Finicum? Of course not. It’s a double standard. The far left occupation of Seattle is on a magnitude of violence and treason that makes the Right’s occupation in Oregon look like a tentative play date between toddlers, if that. No, the left will escalate pointing the finger at the right. This is how it always happens when the Democrats, progressives, socialists, communists want to harness violent energy to advance a statist tyranny. “Look, there’s another Jew, Christian, Dutch, Conservative, Republican, Trump supporter, Constitutionalist… that’s your problem go get them!” The change coming will not be to advance equality, freedom, and justice for all. It will be the opposite and laser focused on crushing the constitutionalists.
I’m not going to start screeching “CIVIL WAR!”, but I feel like there’s something boiling just below the surface of all this, and I’m afraid to find out what it is.
Something this way lurks.
Ali Baba strikes again, Allah Allah oxen free, if it isn’t radical Muslims, its BLM’ers and Antifa, or being promoted by the Democrat Party!
I hope you are joking. It’s much more likely to be another seriously disturbed person. BLM and Democrats don’t have it as part of their platform, the murder of policemen and transients. He will be caught, and it’s unlikely he is a radical Muslim, or a member of the mythical Antifa
Most likely not a NRA republican.
Or a conservative christian.
@ Tim: Careful you will get labeled a racist for that kind of humor. Where is Chief Censor to explain to us how this guy is really white?
See my response to Debbie below regarding BLM.
Kerry, “mythical Antifa”? Are you suggesting Antifa does not exist?
Ask Andy Ngo if Antifa is mythical or any of the other people they have assaulted.
Surely you jest, but let people know it’s a joke by adding a parenthetical note at the end of the comment.
A transient high on a packet of gas store bought bath salts with a gun taken from an unlocked police car?
Quick search shows the name “Lira” has different backgrounds besides Arabic. There’s Hindi, Spanish, Italian to name a few.
I graduated from Cal Poly SLO, and “Paso” has a quite town atmosphere, with a history of little media attention (and classic car shows). If national media attention is the goal, for whatever the suspect’s motive, this is not the place to do it. Until more info comes in, on the surface, this is an isolated incident and the dude has a prob with LE.
Assuming that’s his real name ……….
I can count on one hand all the times I’ve been drunk (all back in my college days, as those times are long behind me). The very first time was at a big party at SLO with my college buddies. So my two memories of that place are (1) Apple Farm and (2) barfing in the parking lot for the first time.
BLM , Antifa , moron radical muslims, THAT IS THE DNC
As the Brits say, it’s about to kick off. At some point there is going to be a pushback and it’s not going to be wearing a badge or uniform. I’m stocked up on food and other essentials so there is no need to leave the house. Should trouble come to the house then well that will be it.
Make an example out of that pos. Fill him up with a couple of hundred rounds of lead, leave his corpse in the street and tell the democRat Party to go pound sand.
Uh, careful there…that’s the same advice a BLM-affiliated radio show host gave against white people. He and a caller discussed the need to respond to alleged police brutality by killing white people, hanging their bodies in a tree, and circulating photos of them.
We don’t want to be the same as BLM and condone such violence.
This is nothing but 100% ACTUAL racism. It’s tolerated, and even preferred, as long as it’s against white people. I still haven’t heard an explanation showing how Floyd’s death was due to racism.
Hasn’t mattered since the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, man. Only one truth matters – the one that gets there first.
According to Critical Race Theory, Black people can’t be racist because racism is a classed-based. This means that the anger and frustration that Black people feel against White people is a function of their oppressed status. This means that the indignation and even hatred they feel about their condition is entirely legitimate. Because of their status as oppressed people they can’t be racist.
This is, of course, total BS. Racism is, in fact, a social psychological condition where people develop irrational hatred of others based on skin-color. Racism is independent of economic inequality and social class.
Haz…There is a colossal difference between zeroing in on the perp and finding someone who resembles the perp to shoot, etc. Your silly attempt to compare has no merit whatsoever.
Your recommendation that the perp be vigilanted with “a couple of hundred rounds of lead” and his body be left in the street on display for a specific group of people to view does not sound similar at all to you?
And when BLM meets a guy with 15 rounds of hollow point that won’t be such a great plan.
You are right. I will get the extra pillows out of the closet and pummel any Bolshevik ‘protester’ who arrives to kill me, loot my house, and burn it to the ground. That will teach them.
Debbie w – that is the smartest thing I have ever read on this site, talk like that will make me fall in love.
The bullcrap that is fed to the public by the media in America is worse than the garbage fed to Russia during the Cold War. the democrats have lied, cheated,and corrupted our nation for many-many years. Since the Lyndon Johnson admin.this country has been corrupted by the democrat-socialists.when we have people like Soros and Bloomberg OPENLY FORMENTING AND FINANCING the open rebellion of the antifa type idiots and black-lives-matters hoodlums in America. they have no” skin in the game” THEY PAY NO TAXES, most do not even vote. all they want is disruption that gives them a chance to loot and burn our nation ..THEY ARE THE FIRST ONES TO BE SHOT if the communists take over. it is all history . every country that the communists/marxists have taken-over ,the first thing they did is kill the very ones that put them in power,
The real players manipulate the dullards into doing their dirty work for them.
If you think this shit “started” with LBJ then you must also be a flat-earther.. You’ve got to go back WAY farther than that…. even before (according to “TIM”) the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor,
Im surprised the fool Geoff…PR hasn’t posted here yet. I guess he’s too busy posting 3+ laughably impotent posts responding to a ‘troll’ he ‘bitch slapped’. A legend in his own mind.
…and here’s the screeching, feces-slinging demented little chimpanzee back at it again.
You must really like the smell of your own crap on your fingers.
So *angry* 🙂
Dance, impotent troll. I order you to respond…
^ BEST thing I’ve read all day.
I snorted my Happy Hour beer!
Kudos to you, fine sir.
You go Geoff.
Something about Geoff “Insert witty line here” PR makes him indefatigably irresistible to the rabble. Is it his animal magnetism and subtle humor? Maybe it’s Maybelline. Are those Bugle Boy Jeans he’s wearing?
Stay classy man, and never let the dregs wrinkle one’s forehead.
“A legend in his own mind.”
Yet, somehow, he’s living rent free in your head.
I hope they get this evil SOB…
Let’s see…With 100% of LE and armed citizens on the lookout for the perp it sucks to be the perp. Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before projectiles traveling between 1200 to 3300 fps are headed his way. Rest assured things are weighing heavy on the perp’s mind…wondering about spending eternity in hell, etc.
I think he’s looking for money, drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
Blackjack and hookers too.
“…in fact… forget the park!”
This is our current horror story, isn’t it? The apparently totally random ambush assassins. Seems like we are in a period of time that brings out the crazies. Hope he is caught or killed soon and no one else is harmed along the way.
So when will the social workers be sent out to bring him in?
This is what happens when police raid your house cause you failed a unconstitutional ammo background check! Don’t feel bad at all! These cops picked their team! Wasn’t there an Article right before this one that talks about how messed up and unconstitutional these Cops are? At some point you got to decide if their friend or foe which one is it can’t be both!
Cops can’t win.
Their job is enforce the law. More often than not stupid laws that only serve to escalate every human activity to a life or death encounter.
So who makes the laws?
We haven’t seen one politician yet accept responsibility and step down for writing and passing any of these laws that send cops into the fray for non-reasons.
Just look at all those crime-bill passing Dems taking a knee. How many accepted their role in the expansion of police powers and humbly stepped aside?
How many blamed everyone but themselves and demanded those they blame step aside?
What the cops should be doing in going into blue state state houses and dragging all of these KKK dems out into the street to pay for their crimes not just against the people but against their own enforcement apparatus.
Sure, there are case by case instances where I agree the “Cops can’t win”. Problem is there are numerous cases of police officials, the bg brass that is, being champions of more gun control laws.
Anyone helping to make bad law owns some responsibility for the consequnces.
What transgressions committed in one’s daily life justify them being murdered? Could Cale15 provide an exhaustive list?
The silent majority has not spoke yet but when they do it will be the last word the all these scumbags hear, Oorah!
If they catch him & bring him in in cuffs than I’d say the cops are not doing the appropriate job….
Is it not strange that despite the plethora of “gun laws” enacted in California, laws that essentially impact the law abiding, that criminals carry on as usual? One would think that by this point in time law makers there would have realized the error of the legislative path they chose to follow, and that they would have changed course. One realizes that is is difficult for people to admit error however how come that respecting California law makers, it seems not only difficult, but impossible? Additionally, how come it seems that the voters of California are equally unable or unwilling to learn?
Morons one and all. My brother in law is a native Californian. He’s an idiot ! My wife got out of california with maybe half a brain left. Her brother spent to much time there. No gray matter remains
He killed a transient and shot a cop. He is suspected to be a transient.
He’s very likely to be a run of the mill nut bar. There’s no need for a wild conspiracy here any more than there was for Kate Steinle. A nut got a hold of a gun and engaged in some squirrel-shit type behavior.
I believe that there’s a CPT code for “ squirrel-shit behavior”.
Is it open season on pigs ?
A joke in poor taste one might say.
While Esoteric Inanity is no big fan of Law Enforcement, especially the bad apples, callously disregarding the murder of an innocent man is hardly admirable.
Admittedly, this one is also guilty of insensitive jokes at inappropriate times.
Therefore, he is not judging, but merely voicing an opinion.
You’ve played way to much MASS EFFECT…. Hanar speak only works if you’re “a big stupid jellyfish”….
The homeless man was actually an FBI agent on a sting operatuon. Damn bumbs are using the railroads diesel fuel to cook their Mulligan stew
Youd think he’d wear a mask.
Assuming he killed the hobo first, I guess what they say is true. All felonies after the first are free.
And the Libertarians liberals and the left say there never has been a war on Cops. And there isn’t a war on Cops now.
Someone who is a lawyer, educate me about this:
When were we no longer able to put up a “Wanted:: Dead or alive” poster for a suspect at the post office (or elsewhere) and put a price on someone’s head?
And why are we no longer able to do this?
To answer your question. I would say that “a civilized society doesn’t do those kind of things”.
That’s the answer of a lawyer and or philosopher.
However Wanted Dead or Alive posters are a simple tool. Used to keep Society safe from Bandits. People who have no self-control.
Also such posters do save the taxpayer a lot of money. In prison fees as well as trial court costs.
That’s $$$ the lawyers aren’t going to get.
A wanted poster is distributed to let the public know of an alleged criminal who is wanted by the law. Images often include a picture, or in the old west, a facial composite. The words “dead or alive” were listed on old west posters, and the reward amount was prominently displayed. Usually, a wanted poster included a description of the crime. One hundred or so years ago, posters were produced by vigilant groups, railway security, the Pinkerton agencies or companies that were robbed.
The front page of the Daily Mirror from 1939 was presented as a ‘WANTED’ poster for Adolf Hitler – the ‘reckless criminal … wanted – dead or alive’. The newspaper appeared on 4 September 1939, just one day after Britain and France declared war on Germany.
Dead or Alive was “conditional” you couldn’t just kill a guy unless it was self defense or violent resisting…. The Fords were charged and convicted for the murder of Jesse James since they shot him in the back, he was unarmed and he was not resisting..
Dude was killed this afternoon in a gunfight with cops… Fuckin cops still killing even after all the shit that has gone on the last couple of weeks… They could have written a strongly worded letter first…
Or used the Joe “Gun Fu” Biden method. Leg shot, with a quickness.
I pay so little attention to Creepy, touchy feely, hair sniffin, shot gun toten, both barrels through the door Joe that I forgot he was also a “wing em in the leg guy… but yeah, why didn’t the cops just shoot him in the fucking leg? A bunch of blood thirsty killers with a license to do whatever they want… bet they would not get away with that shit in our newest country “CHAZ”… The rapper turned warlord in charge would have his boyz smack the killer right out of them…