San Luis Obispo, CA – San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) Detective Luca Benedetti was murdered in the line of duty while serving a search warrant at a residence on Monday night.
The incident occurred in the 3000-block of Camellia Court at approximately 5 p.m. on May 10, SLOPD Acting Chief Brian Amoroso said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Det. Benedetti, 37, and five other SLOPD officers responded to an apartment at that location to serve a search warrant in connection with a series of “late-night commercial burglaries” that took place in the city over the course of the previous week, Chief Amoroso said.
The team approached the residence and announced themselves as law enforcement officers, he said.
“After an extended period of time and having received no response, they forced open the front door,” the city said in a press release.
The suspect, later identified as 37-year-old Edward Zamora Giron, “was lying in wait” and immediately began shooting the officers from inside the apartment, Chief Amoroso said.
The team returned fire and retreated, but Det. Benedetti and SLOPD Detective Steve Orozco were both shot during the ambush.
Det. Benedetti died from his wounds at the scene, Chief Amoroso said.
Det. Orozco was rushed to a local hospital for treatment.
He was released later that night and is expected to make a full recovery, Chief Amoroso said.
“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,” the city said in the press release.
Victoria Torres, who lives across from the apartment officers were attempting to search, said she heard loud knocking shortly before gunfire erupted, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.
Torres said she looked out her window and spotted a patrol car, so she headed downstairs to look out a different window.
That’s when she saw a man armed with a “big gun” start shooting at police from the door of the nearby apartment, she said.
Torres said she saw officers taking cover behind a patrol vehicle before she ran back to the upstairs area of her apartment to call 911 and hide, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.
Another neighbor, Monica Rochte, said she heard officers knocking on the door of the suspect’s apartment before the shooting.
They warned they would come inside if the suspect didn’t surrender, Rochte said.
She said she then heard a loud bang and yelling, followed by a single gunshot, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.
“He has a gun!” an officer yelled before a volley of gunfire erupted, according to Rochte.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson told reporters Giron had an extensive criminal history consisting primarily of property, drug, and alcohol offenses.
Investigators did locate property that had been reported as stolen in the commercial burglaries when they searched Giron’s home, Sheriff Parkinson noted.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
Det. Benedetti joined the SLOPD in 2012 after serving four years with the Atascadero Police Department, Chief Amoroso said during the press conference.
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Luca over the past 9 years,” the chief 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.”
Det. Benedetti leaves behind his wife and two young children.
San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said the community is “heartbroken” over the veteran detective’s murder.
“Detective Benedetti loved this City and bravely gave his life so that we could live in peace and safety,” Harmon said in the press release. “Luca’s children have lost their father so we could be safe. We will hold Detective Benedetti and his family in our hearts forever.”
The mayor also recognized Det. Orozco and the other four SLOPD officers involved in the incident for their bravery.
“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.
Harmon ordered all flags throughout the city be lowered to half-staff in honor of Det. Benedetti, San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson told reporters.
“This is a tragedy beyond measure for all of those who serve and care about our community,” Johnson said. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family. We are devastated by this loss.”
— San Luis Obispo Police Department (@SLOCityPolice) May 11, 2021
— Kennesaw Police (@KennesawPolice) May 11, 2021
The San Luis Obispo Police Department has identified Detective Luca Benedetti as the officer who was shot and killed while serving a search warrant Monday afternoon.
Det. Benedetti is survived by his wife and two young children. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/xTFiQnk49S
— Watsonville Police (@WatsonvillePD) May 11, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of San Luis Obispo Police Department Detective Luca Benedetti, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Detective Luca Benedetti, your life mattered.