Body found in Paso Robles during manhunt for deputy’s shooter

An armored vehicle patrols the streets of Paso Robles after a sheriff's deputy was wounded by a gunman.

A man in his late 40s was found fatally shot in downtown Paso Robles during a widespread search for a gunman who opened fire at a police station and wounded a deputy early Wednesday.

The body was discovered near the Amtrak station at 8th and Pine streets. The man, who has not been identified, was shot in the head at close range, said Tony Cipolla, a spokesman for the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities think the homicide is related to an early morning shooting that prompted a massive law enforcement response in the downtown area, Cipolla said.


The situation began about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday when the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol responded to a call that a man was firing shots at a police station on Park Street.

One deputy, who has not been identified, was shot in the face, Sgt. Steve Odom said.

The gunfire occurred over a span of several minutes. After the deputy was wounded, his partner returned fire.

The deputy was taken to a hospital and was listed in serious but stable condition, Cipolla said.

The gunman, who fled the area, was identified as Mason James Lira, 26, a transient from the Monterey area of the Central Coast, according to the Associated Press.

Surveillance camera photos from a downtown hotel and an ale house were released of the suspect. It was not clear whether the shooter was struck.

Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis urged family or friends to convince the gunman to surrender.

“There’s no need for further bloodshed. There’s no need for further violence in our community,” he said.

Residents in downtown Paso Robles were being asked to shelter in place as the SWAT team and dozens of law enforcement personnel spent nearly 10 hours searching the area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Paso Robles Police Department at (805) 237-6464.