'Deeply disturbing' bodycam video shows shooting that killed Calif. officer
The suspect's first shot hit and killed Det. Benedetti. The suspect took Benedetti's department-issued rifle and fired additional shots, striking another officer
By Chloe Jones
The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — San Luis Obispo police on Wednesday released video of the 2021 shooting that killed Det. Luca Benedetti, showing that a mentally ill man fired first after officers broke down the door and attempted to serve a search warrant.
The footage police described as "deeply disturbing" comes more than two years after the incident at an apartment complex on Camellia Court. The shooting on May 10 also injured Det. Steve Orozco and left the man, Edward Giron, dead.
An autopsy of Giron ordered by his family showed he was shot 14 times, including a fatal, apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
According to San Luis Obispo Police Chief Rick Scott, Giron later took Benedetti's rifle, which he used to shoot himself in the head.
What video of shooting shows
In a video released by the city, San Luis Obispo Police Chief Rick Scott explains what happened the day Benedetti and Giron died, and what the investigation found after.
According to Scott, long before the deadly incident, officers previously had been advised that Giron had experienced signs of paranoia and was skeptical of police.
In July 2020, officers conducted a welfare check on Giron and found he was not in distress. Officers also found a report of a previous welfare check.
Soon after, a family member of Giron told police Giron may have a firearm in his apartment. Officers visited the apartment, but could not find Giron. They did not have a search warrant at the time, so they left.
Then, in 2021, the department was investigating a string of commercial burglaries that all used the the same vehicle — a light-colored GMC envoy. The owner of the fourth business that was targeted recognized Giron from security footage as a former employee.
Hours after the fourth burglary, officers connected Giron to the GMC Envoy, and a judge eventually approved a search warrant for the apartment.
Benedetti, Orozco and other officers arrived at the apartment at around 5:13 p.m. on the afternoon of May 10 and knocked on the door twice — both to no response, the video shows. Scott said they also tried a key they had gotten from the apartment manager, but it didn't work.
Benedetti then began calling Giron's name, still with no response.
"Officers continued to wait and did not enter the apartment," Scott said.
The video shows officers ramming the door open and continuing to wait outside the apartment.
Suddenly, a gunshot rings out.
The first shot hit and killed Benedetti. In the video, the department redacted the moment using a black square. It's followed by several ensuing shots, but Giron is not seen.
Yelling "shots fired, shots fired," the officer wearing the body camera runs down the stairs from the second-floor landing.
"He's got a gun! He's shooting at us!" the officer wearing the body camera can be heard as he and the others run for cover.
After killing Benedetti, Scott said, Giron came out on the stairwell and continued shooting at officers. One of those shots injured Orozco, who Scott said is still recovering from the injury today.
Giron then took Benedetti's department-issued rifle, Scott said, and fired additional shots at police. Two officers, including the one wearing the body camera, returned fire at Giron, striking him, and Giron retreated back inside his apartment.
As the shooting stopped, the footage shows, the officer with the camera circles back around a red pickup truck for cover, where he asks a bleeding Orozco he's OK.
"Hit in the head and the arm," Orozco responds.
Orozco then asks the officer, "Did you get him?"
The offier responds, "I think so, he came out an pointed his gun at me."
Moments later, another gunshot can be heard from inside Giron's apartment, where he was alone.
Scott said a rescue team found Benedetti dead at the top of the apartment stairs, outside Giron's apartment door. Officers then entered the apartment and discovered Giron dead.
He had used Benedetti's rifle to shoot himself in the head, Scott said.
Orozco was transported to the hospital to be treated for his injuries, Scott said.
After the deadly shootout, Scott said, officers found stolen items from the commercial burglaries inside Giron's apartment.
An investigation from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office found Giron murdered Benedetti and attempted to murder Orozco and other officers before taking his own life that day.
"Any use of force is a matter we take very seriously, especially when it involves the loss of a life," Scott said. "The loss of an officer honorably serving their community is unconscionable. Our hope is that this information may help promote healing for our department and for our community through an open and transparent dialog based on facts, however tragic and heartbreaking they may be."
"We will never forget Detective Benedetti and his family."
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