SLO County deputies shoot 35 rounds at man with BB gun

February 17, 2019

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies fired 35 rounds at a suicidal Paso Robles man who was armed with a BB gun, according to a district attorney’s office report on the deadly shooting. [Tribune]

On Jan. 24, 2017, deputies Jonathan Calvert and Greg Roach shot and killed Josh Gallardo, 34, after pulling him over on Highway 101 in Atascadero because he was wanted over a domestic disturbance case. The shooting has prompted a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the sheriff’s office, the two deputies and Sheriff Ian Parkinson.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the SLO County District Attorney’s Office conducted an investigation and determined the killing of Gallardo was lawful. The county then refused to release the DA’s office findings following a Cal Coast Times records request.

However, California now has a law that makes the findings of investigations into officer-involved shootings public records. As a result, the DA’s office recently released its report on the shooting.

Roach and Calvert pulled over Gallardo shortly after midnight upon spotting Gallardo’s vehicle and knowing the Paso Robles man had a warrant out for his arrest, according to the DA’s office report. The deputies approached the vehicle with their guns drawn because they thought that Gallardo might be dangerous.

Gallardo told the deputies he wanted them to kill him, and he had an agitated or angry look on his face, the report states. Gallardo at times complied with Calvert’s demands.

Roach, who was on the passenger side of the car, noticed Gallardo’s hand move toward his right pocket and pull out a gun that Gallardo then swung toward the driver’s door, according to the report. Roach fired into the car, and Calvert, while seeing the door opening, also fired into the vehicle.

In all, Roach fired 15 rounds and Calvert fired 20 rounds. An autopsy revealed Gallardo had been shot seven times, including a fatal shot to the head.

Other deputies who arrived at the scene found a black semi-automatic pistol in Gallardo’s lap. The weapon was a BB gun that was a replica of a Walther PKK that Gallardo purchased six days earlier, according to the DA’s office report.

The report concludes it was reasonable to conclude the gun in Gallardo’s hand was a firearm.

Additionally, the report discusses Gallardo’s apparent suicidal state, as well as cocaine use. Gallardo had sent his estranged wife suicidal messages, including a photo of him holding a gun to his head. A suicide note was reportedly found in the trunk of Gallardo’s car.

A search of Gallardo’s room at the Carlton Hotel in Atascadero revealed about seven grams of cocaine. Likewise, a toxicology report showed Gallardo had a potentially toxic level of cocaine in his blood when he died.

The DA’a report does not address the civil liability of the deputies who shot Gallardo nor their compliance with sheriff’s office policies and procedures. The report does, though, counter a claim in the suit that Gallardo was complying with the deputies’ every command.

In the lawsuit, filed by attorneys Justin Sterling and Erin Darling, Gallardo’s widow alleges excessive force and gross negligence in the killing of her husband. The suit also alleges the sheriff’s office knew or should have known that Calvert and Roach “had dangerous propensities for abusing their authority and for mistreating citizens.”

Four years before Calvert fired multiple rounds at Gallardo, he shot an unarmed man in the back in Long Beach. On March 21, 2013, Calvert spotted Matthew Frushon, a suspect in a robbery, on a Long Beach street and attempted to detain him.

While running from Calvert, Frushon took a cell phone out of his pocket. Thinking Frushon was armed, Calvert shot him in the back and in the elbow, police said.

The city of Long Beach and Calvert eventually settled a civil rights lawsuit over the shooting. Calvert resigned from the Long Beach Police Department in 2016 and was hired by the SLO County Sheriff’s Office a few months later.

Following the fatal shooting of Gallardo, the sheriff’s office claimed the Paso Robles man was a transient and a violent person. Gallardo was a lifelong Paso Robles resident who was working at Kellogg’s at the time of his death.

In the year prior to his death, Gallardo became estranged from his wife. An incident occurred in which Gallardo was arrested after threatening to kill himself with a knife and then pushing his wife.

Gallardo later moved into his mother’s home and would at times stay in a hotel. But Gallardo was not violent and not homeless, his wife said.

A hearing in the civil case is scheduled for March 4 in Los Angeles.


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nazbol gang

35 rounds… Merica

How come only burgers deal with their crazies this way?


mercut1469

Bottom line here is that the public is due an answer as to why an essentially unarmed man was gunned down by law enforcement. In this case, it was clearly warranted because of the actions by the suspect. It’s good to know, in any scenario, just what actions LE is taking to defend the public.


rukidding

At what point did you determine he was unarmed? Would that have been before or after he had killed you?


mercut1469

Considering I’m 6-2, about 235, he would have had to hit me several times with his “BB gun” to put me on the ground. But, that is totally beside the point. It’s just reassuring to family, friends and the local populace to know that LE is not out of control, as it has proven to be in several high profile cases across the country, such as the one which was on video showing a suspect clearly fleeing an officer who proceeded to put a slew of bullets into the man’s back.


rukidding

So if it wasn’t a real gun would you still be willing to stand there and take a live round while you were determining that in fact it was a real gun? Guess what? Bang you are dead and the dirt bag is alive. Not a very good decision.


deepsea

The BB gun in this incident was a very accurately detailed copy of a Walther PPK. In the middle of the night on a dark highway, can you determine in a split second if a gun is a BB gun or the real deal? In a gunfight, you’re all in, not matching shot for shot with your enemy. In the dark, shadowy situation of a man pointing a gun at you, are you really going to just fire one shot while waiting to see and hope that you got him? Once again, the arm chair jury has to weigh in with their opinions regardless of the facts.


Desdecardo

One shot from any gun would or could bring you down. May want to check the laws of physics there bub. Law enforcement was acting under the assumption or rather probable cause that he had a firearm and was about to fire. Any actual fire arm is dangerous/deadly unless you are Superman and if you are claiming that I’m sure there are a couple beds you can choose from for your 72 hour hold.


mercut1469

So, judging from the 14 negative votes I got for my post, the readers of Cal Coast News would rather not hold law enforcement responsible for officer shootings. Really, law enforcement should be able to do whatever they want without question, no investigation, no hearings? Sieg Heil!


Snoid

“Gallardo told the deputies he wanted them to kill him”, Read that copperhead, it’s cut and pasted from the story. Does it say Gallardo is gonna kill the two gun happy cops? No it dosent. A suicidal man asks to be killed and instead of talking him down they kill him. So it seems if he was standing on a high rise and said he was gonna jump the cops should have egged him on? The two who murdered this guy need to stop playing Nintendo and act like public servants not Overpaid and legalized hit men. Chalk up another for the slo county cowboys.


kayaknut

The shooting seems justified, my concern if more than half the cops bullets ended up somewhere else only around .200 hit the target. Maybe a few more trips to the range for practice and no marksmanship bonus for these two. I would expect cops to have better ability and be more aware and think more about where their bullets are going and when it comes to handling a gun.


diamond

BB guns look like real guns. The officers had every right to defend themselves against an armed man. This should not be in court. Normal people don’t pull out a gun when they’re pulled over. Suicide by cop. Your thoughts should be with the officers who have to deal with this.


mkaney

Good shooting… IF the story wasn’t so full of holes you could drive 18 wheelers through it.


rukidding

Good shooting. Pull a gun on a police officer and you should expect to get killed. The intention was to kill the officer and they got you and eliminated another scumbag. Sadly though it is sometime suicide by cop but that doesn’t warrant a police officer for getting shot.


RoneeCee

no big loss and it is better than suicide


copperhead

When you get pulled over by a cop you put your hands on the wheel where they can see them, say yes sir and no sir. This guy reaches for a gun (bb gun or not) after saying he wants to kill the deputies and his loser family is suing for wrongful death.


What a joke.