Gunman sought in deputy shooting killed, 3 officers wounded

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© 2020 The Tribune (San Luis Obispo)

FBI agents examine an area in Paso Robles, Calif., Thursday, June 11, 202, as the investigation into the shooting of a sheriff's deputy early Wednesday continues in the Central Coast city. A man was found fatally shot near where the deputy was wounded, and authorities believe the events are connected. Deputy Nicholas Dreyfus was shot in the face. Authorities say he underwent successful surgery and his prognosis Thursday is good. Authorities have identified the suspect as 26-year-old Mason James Lira and they say he's a transient from the Monterey, Calif., area. (David Middlecamp/The Tribune of San Luis Obispo via AP)

LOS ANGELES – A man recently released from jail in Central California was shot and killed at the end of a 36-hour hunt that followed the shooting of a sheriff's deputy and other attacks that wounded three other law enforcement officers.

Mason James Lira, 26, was killed Thursday afternoon after he emerged from a brushy riverbed in Paso Robles where he'd hidden all night, climbed a steep hillside and ran toward a vineyard, authorities said.

He had two stolen handguns and investigators found a box of ammunition, Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis said.

He clearly had been planning to attack police, possibly for days, the chief said.

The specific motive for the attacks was under investigation but one thing was clear, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said: “He did want to shoot law enforcement.”

Lira’s father told The Associated Press he thinks the shooting at the police station might have been a suicide attempt.

Jose Lira said his son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He said his son has been in and out of jail and treatment centers, didn’t take his medication and often thinks he is a special agent or a soldier.

“He lives in a fantasy world,” Jose Lira said. “He doesn’t have a beef with the police.”