Lawsuit blames SLO officers in death of suspect and officer Luca Benedetti

August 15, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

The family of the man who was shot and killed during a gun battle with San Luis Obispo police officers, a battle that took the life of officer Luca Benedetti and injured another officer, has filed a federal lawsuit for excessive force and wrongful death against the city, county and four individuals.

On May 10, 2021, six officers attempted to serve a search warrant at Edward Zamora Giron’s San Luis Obispo apartment. When Giron did not respond, officers broke down the door of the apartment and found him lying in wait.

Detective Luca Benedetti

A shootout ensued, during which Giron allegedly shot and killed 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, investigators said. The lawsuit asserts otherwise.

“The effort to serve the search warrant for stolen property quickly deteriorated into utter chaos, instantly transitioning from a controlled effort to secure the suspect and search his unit into a Wild West Style shootout, that tragically eventually resulted in the death of Mr. Giron, the death of SLOPD Officer Luca Beneditti and injury to another officer,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accuses law enforcement of promoting a false narrative that Giron shot officers Benedetti and Steve Orozco, and then shot himself in the head. City officials deny the allegation.

Giron was shot 14 times, including a shot to the left side of his head. The suit alleges, as a right-handed person, a self-inflicted gunshot wound would not have been to the left temple.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that officers shot Benedetti and Orozco.

The officers “were apparently shot with the same caliber weapon that struck the decedent, Mr. Giron, suggesting the officers were hit with ‘friendly fire,’ and not bullets fired from a pheasant hunting rifle,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also condemns officers for not responding to multiple pleas for help with Giron’s mental health issues, and for not attempting to diffuse the situation.

In July 2020, a female friend of Giron’s told a SLO officer she wanted to open a line of communication about Giron. The woman provided police with screenshots of his Instagram stories and livestream following a night in jail.

“I have been constantly harassed by police for the last week for every single good thing I’ve tried to do for everyone… I haven’t been sleeping… I’ve been more than just at a loss entirely as to what to do and where I should go… HELP!!” Giron wrote in one of the Instagram stories.

Three days later, the woman emailed the officer, saying Giron’s behavior had become much more volatile and violent, and he had become paranoid and developed an unreasonable distrust of the law. She said it “only takes a split second for things to go wrong.”

Giron’s family is seeking the cost of his burial, attorneys’ fees, court costs and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.


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obispan

Let’s get our gun terminology straight, “pheasant hunting rifle”, would that not be a shotgun and not a rifle? I suppose you could shoot pheasants with a rifle if you were Annie Oakley. Wouldn’t be much pheasant left to eat.


LinnieB

Who knows what when down that day. Whatever happened, it was tragic! The loss of lives should have been avoided. Don’t all officers go through training for dealing with the mentally ill? You would think the majority of citations center around those who are mentally ill. I would think one of their top training requirements is how to “DE” escalate mentally ill and circumstances such as this one.


slo_lo

Giron made the decision to burglarize a business. Giron made the decision to lie in wait and shoot at officers. When you shoot at officers it doesn’t end well. Mental illness or not he made the decisions he made that day and paid the consequences. This is not on the officers that were serving the warrant that day. Officer Benedetti paid the ultimate sacrifice and now his girls don’t have a dad. I can’t believe Giron’s mom is trying to cash in on this. I hope the city doesn’t settle, this is BS.


GreatGuy

It’s pretty obvious it was a police debacle. That’s why there was such a quick effort to declare the officer a hero, deflecting potential criticism for the huge screwup.


tidepool

Another reason Judy Vick suddenly retired. Dr Daisy Alano is looking worse by the day. Under her leadership SLO Mental Health became more marginalized as a county agency whose job it was to assess and help those who met criteria for that help meanwhile Dr Alano and her staff were raking in 6 figures…


commonsenseguy

Please. Mr. Edward Giron is the one responsible for all of this. His actions well before this, which including multiple crimes, drug addictions and other self-induced issues were the root cause.

I’m saddened for all involved especially his family, and the family of Police officer Luca Bennedetti.


JCILOALL

True indeed, however, it’s so much easier to blame/project all of one’s life issues onto others so that they distance themselves from taking responsibility for their own actions.

Because of that type cowardice, we all pay.


mkaney

That would be like finding out his mother’s pregnancy was unplanned and blaming the whole thing on her.


IF, and I’m stressing IF, the police ended up shooting each other, his actions do not excuse that. That would be a slippery slope… imagine a world where police could bust in a house and kill a family and then people blamed the one kid in the house that sold drugs. ALL people need to be held accountable for their actions, even if their intentions were good.


Baywoodjones

Edward Giron was a mentally ill person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and in crisis because of that paranoia and the delusions that are a result of that illness . The police knew this was the case. Yet, the police claimed they had no records of his mental illness after the fact. Though here we clearly see his neighbors had been in prolonged communication with the police in direct regard to Giron’s instability. If nothing else, this lie from Ian Parkinson justifies studying how a right handed person took his life left handed


There was no reason to kick in the door of a paranoid schizophrenic. He was alone in the apartment and was easily contained until professional negotiators and the SWAT Team could arrive to wait him out. We are talking about a property crime that was not in the act of commission


The police should be accountable for the results of their actions. If they have a mentally ill man who is agitated and in fear for his life the act of kicking in his door was not only an unnecessary risk, it was a reckless provocation that served to reinforce Gironde owned paranoid beliefs


Laughlines

Where in the story is Sheriff Parkinson mentioned? All of this took place within the SLO City limits, therefore fell under the jurisdiction of SLOPD. The SWAT team is regional, meaning that officers from multiple agencies around the County comprise the team, but SLOPD would have had control over this operation. Can you expound on the involvement of Ian Parkinson, or was that merely a reflexive slap at the Sheriff?