Mason James Lira, 26, was shot and killed after more than 24 hours on the run, police have confirmed. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office shot Mr. Lira, 26, dead during a shootout near Ramada Drive and Volpi Ysabel Road in downtown Paso Robles at around 4.30pm Thursday.
Several officers were injured during a shootout with the gunman, officials said.
Lira had been identified as the suspect responsible for shooting sheriff’s deputy Nicholas Dreyfus, 28, in the face early hours of Wednesday morning.
Lira was found with multiple guns on his persons. Police believe the guns were stolen during a burglary
Mr. Dreyfus had been responding to a call that someone had opened fire on a police department building at 3am, when the incident occurred.
The attack was described as unprovoked.
The original attack on police was described as an “unprovoked attack on law enforcement” by a suspect “lying in ambush” at the police department, by San Luis Obispo Sheriff Ian Parkinson.
He said it was “the act of a coward.”
According to officials, Lira opened fire at the police department at 3.45am on Wednesday.
Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis said a dispatcher monitoring the department’s security cameras saw a suspicious person walking around the building and then start shooting.
Paso Robles police then called for help from other agencies as they responded to the shooter outside.
“The suspect began firing at police cars as they entered the downtown area, where the police building is located,” said Sheriff Parkinson.
“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.”
He said two San Luis Obispo sheriff’s deputies who responded to the call were searching the area where the shooter was last seen when they came under fire, at 4:19am.
One of the deputies, a two-year veteran of the department, Nicholas Dreyfus, was shot in the face.
The wounded officer’s partner was able to drag him to safety and return fire, Parkinson said.
Mr. Dreyfus was later airlifted to a hospital in another county and remains in a serious but stable condition.
The bullet remains lodged in his head and the police chief said: “he’s not out of the woods.”
Several hours later the body of a homeless man was found.
The body was found at a nearby train station in Paso Robles at 7am.
The 58-year-old victim, who was believed to have been camping in the area, had been shot in the back of the head.
A shelter-in-place order was issued for the city as the manhunt continued.
On Thursday, shortly after 3pm, Lira allegedly shot a police officer from the nearby city of Arroyo Grande who was assisting in the search effort.
The city said in a statement that the officer, who is also a member of a regional SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team, was struck during an exchange of gunfire after authorities spotted the suspect south of downtown Paso Robles.
At 4:30 p.m, the sheriff’s office tweeted that the suspect was down and several officers were wounded.
It was later confirmed that Lira had died at the scene