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Man killed in shootout with sheriff’s deputies in Templeton identified

TEMPLETON, Calif. - The man shot and killed by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's deputies in Templeton Thursday has been identified.

Christopher Michael Straub, 38, was killed in a shooting with sheriff's deputies in and near a cemetery in Templeton Thursday morning.

In what was described as an "ambush" attack, Straub fired on a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Deputy who had chased him into the cemetery after the deputy recognized Straub and his vehicle.

Deputy Richard "Ted" Lehnhoff was wounded in the shooting and was flown to a hospital for treatment.

"He remains in the hospital in stable condition," said San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, at a press conference Friday morning. "He underwent surgery yesterday for his injuries sustained from being shot. He is in good spirits and he is receiving a lot of support from the community and also from the department."

When backup deputies arrived, they engaged Straub who was shot and fatally injured.

"We knew that he was very dangerous," said Parkinson, while pointing to a large collection of weapons and ammunition investigators discovered in his car after the shootout. "I did mention yesterday that he was considered armed and dangerous by us, and as you can see, this is why."

A large amount of guns were recovered during the investigation. Straub is suspected of manufacturing firearms.

Inside Straub's car, investigators found numerous illegal firearms.

"I believe at least three of them were loaded and chambered and ready to fire," said Parkinson. "It was also very concerning to find after the shooting, after we recovered the vehicle, to find this stuff in his vehicle, loaded and ready to go, and that he had returned to his vehicle after the first shooting, in an obvious attempt to retrieve more weapons and ammunition to continue shooting at our deputies."

Following search warrants served at Straub's residence in Templeton, investigators recovered dozens more firearms.

"All the weapons and ammunition were illegal for the suspect to possess because he was a convicted felon, so nothing he owned or had in his possession was legal," said Parkinson.

Straub was a member of a well-known white supremacist gang in San Luis Obispo County, Parkinson revealed.

"It is a gang that is centered out of San Luis Obispo, that we're quite familiar with, the Gang Task Force has worked, and we actually had several convictions, and sent people away from the gang to state prison," Parkinson said.

Straub has been arrested and booked into jail more than two dozen times in different counties throughout the State of California. He had a felony warrant for his arrest at the time of the shooting.

Straub was believed to be involved in illegal gun manufacturing, Parkinson said.

"Most troubling is to have all this (weapons and ammunition) contained in his vehicle, driving around with it," said Parkinson. "It shows his mindset. I indicated yesterday our concern for him. There was concern that he knew he was potentially going back to prison and did not want to and had made statements that he intended to shoot it out with the police."

He added the investigation continues to determine if there are other individuals involved in the illegal gun manufacturing.

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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