UPDATE – PASO ROBLES – The identity of the man who was killed on Wednesday morning near the Amtrak train station in Paso Robles was released by his family.
James Harding Watson, 59, was found dead at 7 a.m. Wednesday, June 10, by business owners in the area. Paso Robles Police Department described Watson as a homeless man that may have been sleeping in the area. The train station is at 8th and Pine streets in Paso Robles.
Police said that Watson was shot at close range by Mason James Lira, 26, of Monterey. Detectives surmised Watson was shot before Lira turned his attention to the Paso Robles police station.
“We are not 100 percent sure yet but we believe at this point that it happened early on,” PRPD Police Chief Ty Lewis said during a press conference Thursday after the search for Lira ended. “That might have been one of the first things he did was to commit the homicide and then progress toward the police department.”
Lira was killed during a shootout with law enforcement Thursday, June 11, near the Salinas riverbed on the south end of Paso Robles.
Watson’s son, Johnny Watson, set up a gofundme fundraising account for his father on Friday, June 12 and closed it a day later thanking people for their support.
Johnny stated that his father was born in Kentucky. He “loved” the Philadelphia Eagles, watching John Wayne movies and, of course, listening to the king, Elvis Presley.
He was a “big old mommas boy his whole life and was proud of that fact.” He was protective of his family, a “kind-hearted and loving big brother to his four sisters.”
He would give the “biggest bear hugs every time he saw one of his sisters no matter what, sometimes his sisters disliked getting them because he would pick them up and hug them to tight, although they would give anything to have one more hug now.”
He “loved his family more than life itself and everyone knew it.” He was an “awesome man,” he would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need “even after being down on his luck, he was just that kind of man.” He was very strong in his Christian faith and believed in the power of prayer. “We all loved him dearly.”
On June 22, at First Baptist Church, in Paso Robles, there will be a service for Watson, “we will be putting my father to rest at 10 a.m. on June 22, just three days before his 59 birthday,” Johnny Watson shared. “We want to thank the community that stood behind us every step of the way; the love and support from everyone means the world to me and my family.” He continued, “and I want to say thank you to all the law enforcement for putting your lives on the line… my prayers for a speedy recovery… and my dad’s name is James Watson, not another homeless transient.”