2 California Police Officers Fatally Shot Within 24 Hours

LOS ANGELES—Two California police officers were shot and killed within 24 hours this week in separate incidents, authorities said Tuesday.

An officer in the Northern California city of Stockton was fatally shot Tuesday morning, police said in a Twitter post. A male suspect was also shot and killed in the incident. Neither have been identified.

Authorities did not immediately release further information. But they planned a news conference for later Tuesday.

In San Luis Obispo, a central California city about 250 miles south of Stockton, Detective Luca Benedetti was shot and killed while serving a search warrant Monday evening.

Benedetti, a 12-year law enforcement veteran and a detective in San Luis Obispo, was fatally injured in a shootout in an apartment in the Central Coast city, officials said during a news conference. Benedetti and five other officers had been at the apartment for an investigation into items stolen in a string of late-night commercial burglaries in the city that’s about 200 miles north of Los Angeles.

Detective Steve Orozco was injured in the shooting, police said. He was released from a hospital and is expected to recover from his wounds.

Officers Shot in Califnia
Officers take aim at an apartment across Camilla Court. in San Luis Obispo, on May 10, 2021. (David Middlecamp/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo)

Police said gunman Edward Zamora Giron had been lying in wait inside the apartment and fired at the officers before shooting and killing himself. He also had wounds sustained in the shootout. Police initially said that he had been killed by officers’ fire.

Officers arrived at the apartment in San Luis Obispo around 5 p.m. to serve the warrant, seeking the stolen property from the commercial burglaries over the past week, said Brian Amoroso, acting chief of the police department.

The officers knocked and announced themselves, Amoroso said, but there was no response from inside the apartment. They forced the door open and found Giron inside.

Giron opened fire, and the officers began retreating and shooting back, Amoroso said. Benedetti and Orozco were struck in the gunfire, as was Giron.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said Giron had a criminal history involving mostly alcohol, drug and property offenses, but nothing violent. Giron did not have any registered firearms, and authorities were not aware of any mental illnesses he may have had, the sheriff said.

Authorities later found the stolen property inside the apartment, Parkinson said.

Benedetti had worked for the San Luis Obispo Police Department since 2012, after serving at the Atascadero Police Department for four years. He was a member of the regional SWAT team. The 37-year-old is survived by his wife and two young children.

“This is a tragedy beyond measure for all of those who serve and care about our community,” City Manager Derek Johnson said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family. We are devastated by this loss.”

Victoria Torres, 21, told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that she was upstairs in her bedroom when she heard “a very loud knocking” at an apartment across from her.

“I don’t know if it was the police or what,” she said. “I always hear noises here, so I didn’t think anything of it until I heard the gunshots.“

She looked out her window and saw a police car then walked downstairs and looked out another window.

Torres said she saw a man carrying a “big gun” who began shooting from the door of an apartment at officers who were hiding behind their patrol car.

Torres went back upstairs to hide and call 911.

Monica Rochte, 31, told the Tribune that she heard police banging on an apartment door and saying: “’We’re going to come in. We know you’re in there.’ ”

Rochte said there was yelling and then a bang that she thought might be police knocking down the door, followed by a single shot.

Rochte then heard police yell: “’He has a gun!’” followed by a series of 15 to 20 shots, she said.

By Stefanie Dazio And John Antczak

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