Kings County deputy, shot in his leg in Paso Robles shooting rampage, is at home and recovering

By Ed Martin, Editor
Deputy Sheriff Blake Bursiaga
Deputy Sheriff Blake Bursiaga
Photo Courtesy Kings County Sheriff's Office

Kings County Deputy Blake Bursiaga, a seven-year veteran of the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, is at home and resting comfortably today. The former Kings County probation officer is expected to make a complete recovery. He will likely return to work as soon as possible after having been shot in the leg while pulling a fellow officer to safety during a shooting rampage on Thursday, June 11, in Paso Robles.

The suspect, Mason Lira, according to law enforcement personnel, went on a shooting spree in the City of Paso Robles. When it was all over, the suspect wounded four law enforcement personnel and killed an innocent citizen.

As of Monday morning, Bursiaga, after returning to Kings County, is with his wife and kids at home. However, a bullet remains in his leg. “He was released that night from the hospital,” said Kings County Sheriff David Robinson. “They did leave the bullet in his leg, and (they) need to follow up.”

Bursiaga suffered his wound Thursday afternoon in Paso Robles, where San Luis Obispo County law enforcement personnel, joined by various county and CHP officers, sought Mason Lira, the suspected shooter. Four law enforcement officers, including Bursiaga, sustained gunshot wounds, and all are expected to recover.

Law enforcement officials accused Lira of killing a homeless man during his rampage.

As the search unfolded, numerous law enforcement agencies answered the call for help and headed to Paso Robles to assist in the search, said Robinson. “These brave men and women spent hours on their feet with heavy gear on searching for this violent, dangerous suspect. Some of our deputies were seeking the suspect for more than 16 hours straight, without sleep.”

Law enforcement finally caught up with Lira while searching along the Salinas River, encountering the suspect hiding in the riverbed. Lira attempted to flee towards Highway 101 when law enforcement officers opened fire. Lira was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kings County sent 20 to 30 deputies over 36 hours to assist San Luis Obispo County law enforcement officers in catching up with Lira. “The second day we sent our SWAT team and a few other team members,” said Robinson, who monitored the situation from Kings County.

Law enforcement officers, including members of the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, caught up with Lira, who emerged from the brush and started firing on law enforcement officers, including CHP and Kings County deputies.

“What happened was that when the suspect came out of the brush he was hiding in, the suspect started to fire at our team and the other team members,” said Robinson. “Two of our team members returned fire, and while the suspect is firing at our team, a CHP officer was hit in the chest area, and at the time, they obviously didn’t know it. Luckily, he was hit in the vest. He went down on the ground, and so Bursiaga stepped outside of the cover to rescue the CHP officer and got him behind cover. That’s when Bursiaga was struck in the knee.”

Bursiaga has served with the county’s SWAT team, but his primary duty is with the Kings County Major Crimes Task Force.

Kings County deputies have been busy recently. Robinson sent deputies to Los Angeles to assist law enforcement during the recent nationwide protests. The local team spent about 10 hours in Los Angeles before returning home. Kings County also sent a team to Oakland, where it spent a day and a half helping to calm the city.

Robinson told The Leader that four officers sustained gunshot wounds and are all expected to recover. San Luis Deputy Nicholas Dreyfus was the most seriously injured, and he has a long recovery road ahead of him.

“Once the news of Deputy Bursiaga being shot spread, the outpouring of support was at times overwhelming. It reminded us there are so many more who support us than are against us,” said Robinson. “Not only did our local community reach out, but we had many from the Central Coast thanking us for helping them in their time of need. Again, we say thank you to all of you, and it was our honor to serve. We’d do it again at a moment’s notice.”

Comments powered by Disqus