District Attorney announces results of independent review of the officer-involved shooting incidents
–District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that his office has completed the independent review of the officer-involved shooting incidents occurring in and around the City of Paso Robles on June 10 and June 11, 2020, culminating in the shooting death of Mason James Lira.
The case involved a series of shootings conducted by Lira during which a man was murdered, a sheriff deputy was shot in the face and other law enforcement officers were also injured.
After careful review, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office has concluded the law enforcement officers who used deadly force did not violate the law so no charges will be filed against them.
With limited exception, the DA has the responsibility to independently evaluate all officer-involved shootings that occur within San Luis Obispo County. The role of the DA in this review is to determine whether during the course of the incident any violation of California criminal law was committed by the involved officer or officers. This evaluation does not directly address issues of policy, training, tactics or civil liability. There is no set timeframe in which such an evaluation must be completed, and each incident presents its own unique circumstances.
In reviewing any investigation for the possible filing of criminal charges, the DA’s office is bound by the crime charging standards that are applicable whether an individual is a civilian or a peace officer. Those standards are detailed in the California District Attorneys’ Association Uniform Crime Filing Standards, and state in part:
“The prosecutor should file a criminal complaint only if four basic requirements are satisfied:
- There has been a complete investigation and thorough consideration of all pertinent data;
- There is legally sufficient, admissible evidence of a corpus delecti (i.e., each element of the crime);
- There is legally sufficient, admissible evidence of the accused’s identity as the perpetrator of the crime; and
- The prosecutor has considered the probability of conviction by an objective factfinder (i.e., judge or jury) hearing the admissible evidence.
- The evidence should be of such convincing force that it would warrant conviction of the crime charged by a reasonable and objective factfinder after hearing all the evidence available to the prosecutor at the time of the charging and after hearing the most plausible, reasonably foreseeable defense that could be raised under the circumstances presented to the prosecutor.”
Consistent with the obligation and the Uniform Crime Charging Standards, an independent evaluation of the series of incidents was conducted. The complete investigation included one hundred thirteen (113) interviews of law enforcement personnel and civilian witnesses, review of sixty-seven (67) body-worn camera and patrol in-unit videos, thirty (30) surveillance and aircraft videos, hundreds of photographs, the collection of 637 items of evidence, location diagraming and forensic evaluation and testing of physical evidence.
Based upon a review of the sheriff’s final investigative report, and pursuant to the controlling legal principles, it is the DA’s legal opinion that there is a lack of evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt criminal culpability on the part of the involved officers in any of the four distinct officer involved shooting incidents. There is reliable evidence that each officers’ actions were reasonable, necessary and justified under the totality of the circumstances when they shot, or shot at, Mason James Lira on June 10 and June 11, 2020.
Accordingly, the DA’s office has closed its inquiry into these four officer involved shooting incidents.