N.C. officer killed in shooting on way to work classified as LODD, widow to receive new death benefits
Officer Gabriel Torres, 29, was one of five people shot and killed on Oct. 13, 2022; he had been with the Raleigh Police Department for 18 months
By Anna Johnson
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
RALEIGH, N.C. — The widow of the Raleigh police officer shot and killed during the Hedingham mass shooting will now receive additional death benefits, according to the city’s police protective association.
Gabriel Torres, 29, was one of five people shot and killed on Oct. 13, 2022, by a then 15-year-old.
“A decision just came down that Officer Gabe Torres’ murder was determined an in the line of duty death,” according to a Facebook post from the Raleigh Police Protective Association. “This helps with additional benefits for his family!!”
Torres was off duty at the time of the shooting but was on his way to work. He’d worked for the Raleigh Police Department for 18 months and was a former U.S. Marine.
His widow, Jasmin, commented on a Facebook post that shared the news.
“What a long road it has been that’s for sure,” she said. “Glad we are finally here.”
A bill to extend death benefits to the families of public safety employees killed on their way to and from work was filed in the General Assembly in 2023. While the bill remained in committee, a version of the bill’s contents was included in the state budget.
The state budget amended the public safety employees’ death benefits to include any law enforcement officer murdered by a firearm while off duty but en route to their official duties and was retroactive to include incidents between Oct. 12 and Oct. 31, 2022.
Rep. Sarah Crawford, a Wake County Democrat sponsoring the original bill to extend death benefits, said the change fixed a loophole in North Carolina. At the time of the bill, the N.C. Industrial Commission was still deciding how to classify Torres’ death, forcing his wife to repeatedly fill out detailed forms about how he died, Crawford said.
“I think it’s unconscionable that we are making a young mother who has been widowed through a tragic act of violence relive her worst day, over and over, in order to do that,” Crawford said in a previous interview with The News & Observer. “He should be classified as the hero that he is.”
On Dec. 15, the Industrial Commission ruled that Jasmin Torres should receive $200,000 in death benefits after stating that Gabriel Torres not only died in the line of duty but was murdered in the line of duty under the updated Public Safety Employees’ Death Benefits Act.