SLO gunman’s mother alleges police killed her son

October 29, 2021

Edward Zamora Giron

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The mother of the mentally ill man, who shot and killed a San Luis Obispo police detective, wounded another officer and died in the deadly shootout, has filed a wrongful death claim alleging officers’ gunfire, not a self-inflicted wound, killed her son. [Tribune]

Edward Giron’s mother Caroline Wichman filed the wrongful death claim on Thursday against the city, as well as the county, of San Luis Obispo. In the claim, Wichman alleges law enforcement made improper tactical moves in the lead-up to and during the deadly shootout, and they have since been engaged in a coverup about what transpired.

On May 10, six officers attempted to serve a search warrant at 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, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

A shootout ensued, during which Giron shot and killed Detective Luca Benedetti. Detective Steve Orozco was shot multiple times but survived. Giron died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Giron was shot 14 times during the shootout, according to an autopsy report compiled by a forensic pathologist hired by Giron’s family. The autopsy found Giron was shot 10 times from the front and four times from behind. The San Luis Obispo man was shot once in the left temple, six times in the torso, three times in the buttocks and four times in his extremities.

Wichman alleges in her claim that officers mishandled the tactical entry of Giron’s house. SLO police personnel and other law enforcement officers shot Giron out of revenge when he was no longer a threat to public safety and killed him unlawfully, Wichman alleges. Also, friendly fire injured one or more officers, Wichman claims.

SLO police and other law enforcement conspired to proliferate a false narrative to the public that her son shot and killed himself, Wichman states in the claim.

The city of San Luis Obispo has refused to release body camera footage of the shootout because it would vindicate her son and incriminate officers, Wichman alleges. Giron’s mother also claims the city has destroyed at least some of the body camera footage and may have tampered with other sections of it.

Detective Luca Benedetti

City officials say they are currently withholding records related to the deadly shootout as both the sheriff’s office conducts an investigation and the city conducts an internal probe.

Wichman’s claim also alleges SLO police and other law enforcement publicly denied Giron’s history of mental illness.

At a press conference following the shootout, SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said local law enforcement had no record of Giron being mentally ill. Yet, over the months leading up to his death, friends, family and neighbors of Giron warned SLO police repeatedly that he was mentally ill.

San Luis Obispo public communications manger Whitney Szentesi said, though Giron had a history of third-party concerns about his mental health, he never previously displayed violent behavior toward officers, nor did he disclose that he was a violent threat to himself or others. Giron did not meet the legal criteria for being placed in an involuntary mental health hold, Szentesi said.

Wichman is seeking more than $25,000 from both the city and the county for pain and suffering, emotional distress, restitution and punitive damages. If officials reject her claim, Wichman can file a lawsuit.


Loading...

11
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
slo_lo

Are you kidding me? Mom who didn’t help son now wants to cash in…Many people suffer from mental illness. Most mentally ill people do not shoot and kill police officers. Eddie committed a crime, the cops were serving an appropriate warrant. He waited there and shot and killed Luca – my friend, a dad, husband, son, brother, cousin. Luca had done nothing wrong. Now he is dead. Eddie is too but that’s on him…his actions led to that. End of story. How can law enforcement know about every mentally ill person they come into contact with?? Handling mentally ill individuals is extremely hard because you cannot make them get help, take meds etc. this all is a bunch of BS. His mom is pathetic for doing this.


commonsenseguy

Self inflicted, or shot by Police? Who’s actions first, actually led to his death. Who’s actions brought the Police there? It appears there’s many to blame and things to be learned here, but please start with the root cause of this tragedy.


obispan

Ka-ching. JPIA will settle and the criminal’s mother will cash in. Det. Benedetti’s death is her lottery win.


Zoiebowie

We care about this guy’s life but no one wants to get vaccinated to save lots of lives?


derasmus

Nearly 200 million in the US FULLY vaccinated. We could, and should, do better as a nation but to declare “ no one wants to get vaccinated “ is a histrionic.


fortyonethirty

Release the body camera footage.


Murse

I hasten to comment because this is such a sensitive and tricky situation. I support law enforcement overall and a family member knew Luca Benedetti and said he was an all-around great guy. His death is absolutely tragic. That horrific situation should not be lessened by potential wrongdoing on the part of local law enforcement.


IF there was a coverup or illegal activity on the part of SLOPD as alleged in the mother’s claim, there should be accountability. When I read the allegations, I must admit (sadly) that I believe it is entirely possible that her claims are true based on the history of local law enforcement, which hasn’t exactly been transparent in previous investigations. Their actions have harmed innocent people who live in SLO. (The couple who had their children taken away out on O’Conner Way after mistaken identity, Officer Josh Walsh shooting and killing someone’s dog when they were repairing their own window, etc.) The body cam footage was never made available in those cases, either, was it?


Hopefully, the truth comes out. Show the body cam footage, present all of the evidence and let a judge or jury decide based on the law. (Or, perhaps more likely, the City will “settle” prior to a trial, so the public never sees the police misconduct, if there was any.)


charles805

Question- What did the mother do to help her son, after losing two jobs? Did she provide any support financially? I assume by her last name being Wichman, she must have remarried. How about her husband, the step-father, did he provide support for then unemployed and mentally ill step-son? If she knew he was suffering from lack of employment and other stressors, why didn’t she reach out to others to get him help? There are other avenues of help, like church or diocese, for counsel? Or how about a new start, like CCC or US military service. Just curious, what’s Giron’s father’s disposition, if I may ask? Judging by the lack of any mention of him, I surmise he was not part of his son’s life.


Why do I ask? Because, every time something tragic like this happens, far too often the assailant comes from a broken home or foster care system. Every child needs both parents, they don’t have to be the natural parents, but both mother and father. Just one set of parents, not two or three, like some modern families become.


My gut feeling is Giron probably didn’t get along with his step-father and new family. He tried to be self-sufficient, but after losing two jobs, learned that life can throw curveballs. Without family to carry you through rough patches, a person can feel hopeless. Let’s face the facts, Mrs. Wichman, your son shot and killed a police officer. Everyone knows that’s real big no-no. To try to get money for your son’s death, after the fact, feels somewhat like too little too late.


And how about the young widow and two children’s loss caused by the death of the police officer that your son killed? Should they look to you for compensation?


derasmus

All valid points, but that is not the issue, based on the allegations which are (1), Giron did not shoot himself and (2), there is something of a cover up happening with this case, by law enforcement.


But I agree with the sentiment of your comments.


Florian75

The decision making process to force entry should come under scrutiny. Lives were lost, perhaps needlessly. Police need to have the resources and options available to avoid high risk forced-entry situations where the suspect is likely armed. Law enforcement must have more tools in their tool box for surveillance, officer protection, and non-lethal weapons & techniques to take down suspects.


nunsense

i must be reading it wrong, the part that bothers them out of the whole ordeal is that the police are saying he killed himself? this is just weird.