SLO officers responded to eight calls about gunman during pandemic

June 24, 2021

Edward Zamora Giron

In the lead-up to a reportedly mentally ill man shooting and killing a San Luis Obispo police detective and wounding another officer, police responded to eight 911 calls about the suspect. [Tribune]

On May 10, six officers attempted to serve a search warrant at Edward Giron’s San Luis Obispo apartment. When Giron did not respond to police, officers broke down the door of the apartment and found him lying in wait.

A shootout ensued, during which Giron shot and killed Detective Luca Benedetti. Detective Steve Orozco was shot multiple times but survived. Giron died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and other injuries from being struck by the officers’ return fire.

Last June and July, Giron lost his jobs at The Pad Climbing in SLO and the San Luis Obispo Costco. As a result of the pandemic and losing his jobs, Giron became isolated and depressed, his mother has said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Luis Obispo police received eight calls for service related to Giron. Additionally, officers previously encountered Giron in a 2007 vehicle collision and a 2010 traffic stop.

The eight recent 911 calls spanned March 2020 through Jan. 2021. The incidents included calls about noise, welfare checks and suspicious activity at Giron’s apartment. SLO Police Department records stemming from the calls show a worsening of the symptoms of Giron’s mental illness.

Among the eight calls for service, on July 11, a 911 caller told police Giron was “exhibiting signs of mania and paranoia.” One of the officers who responded to the call had been in contact with a close friend of Giron’s who had warned police that he owned unregistered firearms. In the incident report, the officer wrote Giron is “very skeptical” of police.

On Jan. 8, a neighbor reported a man was on a balcony screaming and crying with music blasting, prompting police to respond to Giron’s apartment. The following day, an officer arrested Giron for public intoxication after an incident at Trader Joe’s.

On May 8, 2021, two days before the fatal shooting, Giron was suspected to have burglarized a gas station. In that incident, police responded to the Valero gas station on Higuera Street after a caller reported the front glass door had been shattered and someone had stolen cartons of cigarettes.

Friends, family and neighbors of Giron warned officers repeatedly over months prior to the fatal shooting that the suspect was mentally ill.

Additionally, Giron had encounters with other law enforcement. The SLO County Sheriff’s Office was once contacted with a request to check on Giron’s welfare.

Likewise, on July 10, 2020, Giron was arrested in Santa Barbara for unauthorized entry of a dwelling, disorderly conduct and possession of stolen property. Then on Oct. 18, emergency personnel rescued Giron after he swam out to sea.


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Adam Trask

All of this well known, yet SLOPD decided the best course of action was to break down this man’s door and confront him with lethal force. Defund the police, please!


tidepool

Another example of the negligence of SLO County Mental Health and Dr Alano. This was not a Law Enforcement issue, this was a Mobile Crisis evaluation issue. Was the Mobile Crisis Response Team even called? Is so, did they not do their job? It sounds like Giron met criteria for a 5150 Hold to be evaluated at the Inpatient Unit. I hope there is a thorough investigation into what led up to a man’s mental health deteriorating right before his peers and neighbors eyes. And I also wonder why his Mother did not come to help.


womanwhohasbeenthere

Anyone can be committed for 72 hours under Welfare and Institutions Code 5150 if showing signs of being a danger to himself or others. All it takes is a phone call, and the police will come and forcibly take the person away to Mental Health. He will then be examined by a psychiatrist who will make a determination as to what should be done with the person: released, sent to another facility for longer-term care (usually out of county) or released with the recommended to see a counselor, or a doctor who could prescribe drugs for emotional stability.

If family, friends, neighbors, or whoever had had contact with this man and knew he seemed to mentally ill, had done this, he and officer Benedetti might still be alive.


sardonicsentiment

Quit trying to make excuses for this guy. Part of being an adult is controlling your actions regardless of your emotions. Buck up. No one said life is supposed to be easy. In fact, it’s really hard for pretty much everyone.


slorealitycheck

Clearly you are ignorant about mental illness. Your attitude is what doesn’t help people, but only makes it more hopeless. Would you tell that to someone who had cancer? Open your mind and try opening your heart. Two people lost their lives. Things could have been done differently. According to one neighbor the officer’s said they knew he was in there and were coming in. When someone is mentally ill and showing signs of paranoia that is clearly not the best approach especially when officer’s new he had unregistered fire arms. It’s truly sad all around for both families involved. The Police Academy needs to really look at it’s programs and include more about how to deal with these types of situations better. There are more and more cases like this happening. And specific training needs to be taken.


sardonicsentiment

What qualifies as mentally ill? That’s the problem. Your approach only creates a society of sensitives that expect to be coddled at every turn.


commonsenseguy

So where was his mother and other family when all this was happening? Where were his friends? Shouldn’t there be some accountability on their part for getting him help? I mean if we’re going to point fingers, lets be honest here. Could his drug and alcohol use have any reason why he lost his jobs? They both also lead to a debased mind and paranoia. Where were his loving family and friends? Just asking. Always easy to blame others for your situation.