Four California Cops Shot in 'Planned Ambush' with 'Military Tactics'

Takedown of shooter “not a win,” says sheriff.

Last Wednesday, Mason James Lira, 26, attacked police in Paso Robles, California, murdered a homeless man, and shot San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputy Nicholas Dreyfus in the face.

“This was a planned ambush,” Sheriff Ian Parkinson told reporters. In the ensuing manhunt, Lira moved from place to place, using “military-style tactics.” He waited for officers to arrive, and “he shot them just like he shot my deputy.” Lira shot three more officers before police shot and killed him on Thursday afternoon. For Sheriff Parkinson, “this was not a win,” hardly the only bizarre statement to emerge from the mayhem.

Jose Lira told reporters his son Mason lived in a fantasy world “doesn’t have a beef with the police.” Terrorized locals might think he did, since Lira planned an ambush on a police station and shot four officers. His other encounters with police involved assault and battery charges in Tulare County. Mason Lira also possessed handguns that had been stolen in a burglary.

Jose Lira also claimed his son had a history of mental illness. That did not preclude a carefully planned ambush on a police station and the use of military-style tactics to evade capture and open fire on other officers. Lira shot a California Highway Patrol officer in the chest, then shot a deputy from Kings County in the leg as he attempted to help the wounded officer.

Lira’s planned attack on police drew a response from officers in San Luis Obispo, Kings, and Santa Barbara counties, joined by the CHP and the FBI. Locals might have wondered the result if the police agencies been defunded, as violent leftists now demand. Some were also puzzled by Sheriff Parkinson’s statement that “we wanted a peaceful ending to this. We were hoping for nothing more than him to give up.”

A planned attack on a police station, the murder of a transient, and the shooting of four police officers would seem to preclude any “peaceful ending.” As Michael Corleone might argue, “where does it say you can’t take down a a guy who shoots a cop in the face?  I am talking about an armed criminal who got mixed up in anti-police violence, shot four cops, and got what was coming to him.”

That’s a terrific story, but for the sheriff it was “not a win.” After successful performance of duty, law enforcement is now on the defensive. That was hardly the case with a different group in central California.

Lira’s attack on the police followed a week of violence, looting and arson in cities across the nation. When “protesters” showed up in San Luis Obispo, a city of some 48,000, bikers from clubs such as the Vagos, Molochs and Gold Coast Wheelers lined the streets and parked their motorcycles in front of shops. As Byron Posey of the Vagos explained, “Our whole goal behind the whole thing is we don’t want people to destroy the shops in our town.”

California bikers can be rowdy but it’s hard to find reports of them attacking innocent people and torching stores. Local police said they didn’t need the bikers, but for shop owners the protection was another win. The role of the FBI in the takedown of Lira remains unclear, and that raises another issue for victims of mob violence across the country.

Current FBI boss Christopher Wray was not an FBI agent with proven experience against criminals and terrorists. As the lawyer and bureaucrat said in a June 4 statement, recent violence, threats to life, and destruction of property “jeopardizes the rights and safety of all citizens, including peaceful demonstrators.” This violence, by extremist groups like Antifa and other agitators, Wray said, “has to stop.” What Wray’s FBI is doing to stop it is uncertain, and deployment of force by the FBI force may hinge on the nature of the actors. 

In 1992 at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi gunned down Vicki Weaver as she held her infant daughter. Weaver was unarmed, not under arrest, and had committed no crime. The next year, in a siege of a religious compound at Waco, Texas, the FBI deployed military force, including tanks. The siege left 75 dead, including 25 children.

In Seattle, Washington, violent extremists have taken over part of the city and shake down businesses for protection money. The action is completely lawless and a threat to life and property. At this writing, Wray’s FBI is letting it happen, just like the spineless politicians in charge of the city and state. If anybody thought that was “not a win” it would be hard to blame them.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Dreyfus and the other three officers shot by Mason Lira are expected to recover. California police officers recently killed in the line of duty include Ronil Singh and Brian Ishmael. Neither shooting was captured on video. Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States have been charged with murder in both cases.

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