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Search for Paso Robles shooting suspect continues in areas surrounding city

paso robles shooting suspect spotted at gas station
Paso Robles shooting suspect was spotted at a gas station overnight.

PASO ROBLES, Calif. - The search for a man who shot a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's deputy and is believed to have killed another man in Paso Robles continued on Thursday.

Law enforcement have been scouring the riverbeds surrounding Paso Robles for Mason James Lira.

Mason James Lira, pictured in a mugshot from Santa Cruz County

The 26-year-old is suspected of shooting deputy Nicholas Dreyfus in the face early Wednesday morning.

Dreyfus was responding to the area to assist police with a search for an active shooter after shots rang out near the Paso Robles police department.

Lira is also believed to have shot and killed a transient man in Paso Robles. The body of a 58-year-old man was found near the Amtrak station. Police said he was shot in the back of the head at close proximity. The identity of this man has not been released at this time.

Security footage from a Paso Robles gas station appeared to capture Lira early Thursday morning. The clerk described him as disheveled and tired looking but said there was no sign of a gun.

Law enforcement responded to the area quickly and began searching the riverbed surrounding the area. Residents are being asked to avoid that area entirely while law enforcement continues to search for the suspected shooter.

Lira is most recently known to be a resident of Monterey County. Court documents show he has a history of misdemeanor offenses including trespassing and making criminal threats. Lira has also been arrested in Tulare County for refusing to leave a school campus.

Bizarre posts on social media that appear to belong to Lira have been shared online and have been brigaded by strangers following his identification by law enforcement. In addition, Amazon.com has multiple self-published books written by an author of the same name. It has not been confirmed if the social media posts or books were indeed written by the suspect in this shooting.

The California Highway Patrol and the FBI, as well as law enforcement agencies from Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Kings County are assisting Paso Robles police and the SLO Sheriff's office in the search.

We will continue to bring updates on the search for Lira on air and online.


Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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