A central California sheriff’s deputy was shot in an ”ambush” attack on Wednesday at 3:45 am local time. The shooter was at large after the shooting.

Authorities said the shooter opened fire on a police station in Paso Robles, in the San Luis Obispo County, with the intent of harming or killing police officers.

The sheriff’s deputy was shot in the head while responding to the attack. His partner reportedly dragged him to safety and returned fire. He was taken to hospital and was in a critical condition.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said, ”We feel that this was an ambush, that he planned it, that he intended for officers to come out of the police department and to assault them.”

The Paso Robles Police department tweeted an image of the shooting suspect, asking for information on him. A search of downtown Paso Robles ended without any arrest.

A body was found near railroad tracks a few blocks away from the police station, which investigators said was related to the shooting.

This is the third such incident in California, followed by two deadly shootings targeting officers. A Santa Cruz county sheriff’s sergeant was killed and another deputy was injured when an Air Force sergeant attacked them with home-made bombs and a rifle. Investigators said the suspect was intent on killing officers.

tg/aw (AP, Reuters)

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