The shooting took place Thursday morning when deputies at first tried to conduct a traffic stop on Christopher Michael Straub, 38, near a cemetery. Straub got out of his vehicle and ran through the vineyards of the cemetery, the release said.
He then hid and ambushed deputies, firing multiple rounds at them with a handgun. Deputy Richard “Ted” Lehnhoff, 34, was hit in the leg and airlifted to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery and is in stable condition, the release said.
Straub continued evading deputies and attempted to return to his vehicle through the vineyard, but additional deputies arrived on scene and intercepted him as he tried to regain access to his vehicle.
Straub was later pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.
After the shooting, authorities found multiple weapons in Straub’s vehicle, including four assault-style rifles, one bolt-action hunting rifle, one shotgun, and two handguns along with the handgun he used to shoot at deputies, plus hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
Authorities searched Straub’s residence, where they discovered he was illegally manufacturing weapons parts.
“Straub was a wanted felon and it is illegal for felons to possess any weapons,” the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff’s office said Straub was a known member of a white supremacist gang and the Sheriff’s Gang Task Force was already conducting an investigation before Thursday’s shooting.
Straub “had a significant criminal history having been booked 28 times into jails all across California including two incarcerations in state prison,” the sheriff’s office said in the release.
Templeton is about 114 miles west of Bakersfield.