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Suspect killed in central California shootout, several officers wounded, police say

Alleged CA gunman dead after police shootout
Alleged CA gunman dead after police shootout 02:36

Authorities in central California confirmed that the suspected gunman who shot a deputy and killed a second victim has died and that multiple officers had been injured during a shootout Thursday afternoon. Paso Robles police tweeted earlier that the suspect was down after cops closed in on him.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office later confirmed that the injured officers were from the California Highway Patrol, the Arroyo Grande Police Department and Kings County Sheriff's Office. The officers transported to local area hospitals are in good condition with non-life threatening injuries.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office posted on Twitter that there was only one suspect in the shooting and that no additional suspects were outstanding in the incident.

An intense statewide manhunt had been underway since Wednesday for Mason James Lira, who allegedly ambushed a San Luis Obispo County deputy and was wanted in the homicide of a homeless man, CBS San Francisco reported. Authorities said Lira used a handgun to fire dozens of rounds at the Paso Robles Police Department early Wednesday. When police responded, he shot Nicolas Dreyfus, 28, in the side of the head. Dreyfus is now recovering in the hospital.

Authorities locked down a 2-mile radius on the southern end of Paso Robles near the Salinas River on Thursday afternoon at around 2:10 p.m. as they closed in on Lira.

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office said it received a report of an officer shot in the area of Ramada Drive and Volpi Ysabel Road. Law enforcement officers were stationed in the area to prevent Lira from evading officers who were searching the riverbed.

The wounded officer was transported to a local hospital for treatment, the office said. More officers arrived at the scene to search for Lira when he opened fire, wounding two more.

Those two officers were also evacuated to area hospitals for treatment. Officers kept searching along the Salinas River until they found Lira hiding in the riverbed. He attempted to flee from the riverbed towards Highway 101 when he was shot.

Lira was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the statement. Officers found him carrying two handguns that are believed to have been stolen from a commercial burglary in the City of San Luis Obispo a few days prior.

San Luis Obispo Sheriff Ian Parkinson said he believes police brutality protests inspired Lira. "There's people that shouldn't be doing the job and that do bad things, but we're hoping that our people will heal from this and the community will heal from this," he said.

In addition to Paso Robles police and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's deputies, law enforcement from neighboring cities, the California Highway Patrol and the FBI also responded to Thursday's incident.

mason-james-lira.jpg
Mason James Lira San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office
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