PASO ROBLES. Calif (KSEE/KGPE) — Authorities have identified the deputy who was shot Wednesday morning in Paso Robles.
The deputy, Nicholas Dreyfus, 28, has been with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office since October 2018. He was assigned to the North County Sheriff’s Station in Templeton.
Dreyfus was shot in the face while searching for the suspect in an active shooter incident in downtown Paso Robles just after 3 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office said. He was taken to an area hospital and then airlifted to a trauma center out of the area for surgery.
Soon after, law enforcement reported finding the body of a 58-year-old homeless man near the Paso Robles Amtrak station. Investigators said he was shot dead in the back of the head.
“This was a direct attack on law enforcement,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson. “We had an unprovoked attack on law enforcement and in my opinion the act of a coward.”
“The deputy was an absolute hero,” said Parkinson. “Even calling out that he had been shot on the radio.”
Authorities said Dreyfus’ surgery was successful. He is listed in “guarded condition” and his prognosis is good.
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as Mason James Lira, 26, a transient from the Monterey area. He has dark hair and weighs 160 pounds. He is described as armed and dangerous.
Dreyfus is married and his wife and family members are with him as he recovers.
Anyone with any information on the suspect is asked to call the Police Department or Sheriff’s Office. The FBI is also assisting with the investigation.