PASO ROBLES — UPDATE: San Luis Obispo authorities announced the shelter-in-place has been lifted, following the unprovoked shooting of the Paso Robles Police Department.
Officials are asking the public to avoid the Downtown Paso Robles area, as this is an ongoing investigation.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson says a shooting that targeted the Paso Robles Police Department early Wednesday morning was the “act of a coward.”
Authorities released a photo of the suspect Wednesday afternoon. The man is described as approximately 5'8" and 150-160 pounds with dark curly hair and a beard.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, said the incident began at about 3 a.m. when a dispatcher noticed a suspicious person walking around a police station in Paso Robles. He then began shooting at the building and police vehicles at around 3:45 a.m.
Two deputies arrived on the scene and came under fire when they exited their patrol car. One deputy was struck in the head. The second deputy returned fire, then moved his wounded partner to safety. The fire department arrived and transported the wounded deputy to the hospital where he is listed in serious, but stable condition.
The deputy has been with the sheriff's office for two years and is married.
During a search for the suspect, authorities were notified of a 58-year-old man's body near the Amtrak station at 8th and Pine streets. The man, a local transient from the area, was shot in the head at close range. Evidence at that scene links it to the shooter at the police station.
Authorities believe that the attack, which occurred over an extended period of time, was a pre-planned, unprovoked ambush-style attack and that the suspect "was intending to harm" law enforcement.
The downtown area of Paso Robles remains on lockdown.
Authorities want the public to know that law enforcement will continue to keep the community safe and that they do not want people to take things into their own hands.
"Our message is going to be that we're going to be adding more police cars on the street both in the city and the county and try to ensure that we're doing everything that we can to keep them safe."
Authorities will be adding additional police cars to the streets.
They included a message to the suspect: "Please encourage this person to turn himself in. There's no need for further bloodshed."
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office is investigating a homicide in Paso Robles that may be connected to the shooting of a sheriff's deputy early Wednesday morning.
According to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Tony Cipolla, authorities are searching for an armed suspect who allegedly fired rounds at the Paso Robles Police Department building at around 3 a.m. The deputy was shot shortly after that incident. He is listed in serious but stable condition.
At around 7 a.m. a body was discovered in the area of the Amtrak station at 8th and Pine streets in Paso Robles. The coroner determined the cause of death to be a homicide. The victim, a man in his late 40's, was shot in the head at close range.
Investigators believe the homicide is related to the shooting of the sheriff's deputy.
The search for the shooter is on-going.
Law enforcement officials are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Paso Robles police or the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.