SLO Police detective killed in line of duty
SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo Police Detective Luca Benedetti, a 12-year law enforcement veteran, was shot and killed Monday while serving a search warrant in San Luis Obispo.
The suspected shooter, Edward Zamora Giron, 37, was found dead following the incident. Detective Steve Orozco was injured and transported to a local hospital where he was treated and released Monday night. He is expected to fully recover, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
“Our community is heartbroken,” San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said in a statement. “Detective Benedetti loved this City and bravely gave his life so that we could live in peace and safety. Luca’s children have lost their father so we could be safe. We will hold Detective Benedetti and his family in our hearts forever.”
Ms. Harmon also recognized the bravery of all the officers involved in the incident, namely Detective Orozco.
“As Detective Orozco recuperates at home, we are grateful that his physical wounds will heal, and we recognize that yesterday’s events have changed his life forever,” she said.
Detective Benedetti is survived by his wife and two young children. He joined the San Luis Obispo Police Department in 2012 and before that served for four years with the Atascadero Police Department.
At approximately 5 p.m. Monday, six SLOPD officers served the search warrant for possible stolen property related to a series of late-night commercial burglaries that have taken place over the past week.
As the officers approached the apartment, they provided “knock and notice” identifying themselves as law enforcement as required by California Penal Code 844. After an extended period of time and having received no response, they forced open the front door. Mr. Giron was lying in wait and began to fire shots at the officers from inside the apartment. Officers returned fire and retreated, however the two officers were shot during the exchange of gunfire.
Mr. Giron was later found deceased inside the apartment with an apparent self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wound and other injuries consistent with being struck by the officers return fire.
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, issued the following statement on Tuesday: “I am saddened that a member of our local law enforcement was killed and another was seriously injured in the line of duty in San Luis Obispo last night. My thoughts are with Detectives Benedetti and Orozco’s loved ones, colleagues, and our entire community as we mourn this loss,” he said. “This week is National Police Week, a time to recognize the hard job our law enforcement officers take on. They put their lives on the line to keep us safe and, as we experienced last night, some have sadly lost their lives in service to our community. I will continue working in Congress to support our law enforcement community who work hard to protect us.”
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the SLO District Attorney’s Office, will be conducting the investigation into this incident.
“We appreciate their assistance through this difficult time,” Acting Chief Brian Amoroso said in a statement. “Having an outside agency conduct the investigation is a standard practice for officer involved shootings and we are cooperating fully with their investigation.
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Luca over the past 9 years,” Chief Amoroso said. “He was a dedicated officer, a talented detective, a proud member of the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team, and most importantly, a loving husband and father.
“The entire SLOPD is grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the community,” he said. “We are also grateful for the continued support from our Central Coast law enforcement partners and beyond. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office along with allied law enforcement agencies in the county will respond to calls for service in the City of San Luis Obispo during the coming days while members of the SLOPD grieve and work through this tragedy.”
— Mitchell White
Two injured in shooting
LOMPOC — Two people were injured Monday night in a shooting outside the 7-Eleven convenience store at 1337 N. H St. in Lompoc, police said.
Just before midnight Monday, police responded to the emergency room at Lompoc Valley Medical Center for a report of two victims being treated for non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The preliminary investigation revealed that the shooting occurred approximately 30 minutes prior after a brief altercation between a group of subjects and another individual, according to the Lompoc Police Department.
The altercation occurred inside the convenience store and continued in the parking lot. The suspect, described as a Hispanic man associated with a black-colored SUV who was acting as a lone individual, produced a firearm and shot at the group, striking two of them, police said.
“The victims were uncooperative throughout the preliminary investigation and did not desire prosecution,” police said. “They were both treated for their injuries at the emergency room and later released.”
An investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to contact police or notify the department via the Lompoc Police Department mobile application.
— Mitchell White
Structure fire deemed accidental
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara City Fire Department has determined the cause of Saturday’s structure fire at 1322 Dover Hill Road to be accidental in nature and most likely caused by an electrical malfunction.
The fire resulted in the total destruction of the single-family residence and caused more than $1.85 million in total damages. The single occupant who was home at the time of the fire escaped without injury and no injuries were reported, authorities said.
The fire occurred just before 10 a.m. Saturday. Upon arrival, fire crews found the structure fully involved in fire with flames rolling out of nearly every window. Crews aggressively attacked the fire from the exterior and prevented it from spreading to nearby vegetation and neighboring residences.
Fire officials remain the public that early notification to 911 is the first step to reducing potential devastation and loss of life as a result of fast-moving fires.
— Mitchell White