The San Luis Obispo police officer killed Monday in a shooting at a local apartment complex was “a talented detective” and father of two, city officials said.
Officials confirmed at a press conference Tuesday that Detective Luca Benedetti was slain as he and five other officers served a search warrant at the apartment complex on Camellia Court.
Another San Luis Obispo police officer, Detective Steve Orozco, 31, was injured in the shooting, but is expected to make a full recovery, acting San Luis Obispo Police Chief Brian Amoroso said during Tuesday’s press conference.
Benedetti 37, joined the San Luis Obispo Police Department in 2012. Before that, he served for four years with the Atascadero Police Department.
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Luca over the past nine years,” Amoroso said Tuesday. “I considered him a personal friend, 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.”
Benedetti is survived by his wife and two young children.
“We are heartbroken alongside you,” City Manager Derek Johnson said in an aside to Benedetti’s family during the news conference. “Know that the entire city family will walk the path of grief with you, and we will always remember Luca’s sacrifice.”
In a news release, San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon also expressed her grief at Benedetti’s death.
“Our community is heartbroken,” Harmon said. “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.”
“As Detective Orozco recuperates at home, we are grateful that this physical wounds will health,” Harmon added, “and we recognize that yesterday’s events have changed his life forever.”
According to Amaroso, a total of six officers responded to an apartment on Camellia Court at approximately 5 p.m. Monday to serve a search warrant for stolen property. They were investigating a series of late-night commercial burglaries that took place over the past week, he said.
As officers approached the apartment, they performed a standard “knock and notice” procedure, identifying themselves as law enforcement officials, Amoroso said.
After receiving no response, the officer forced the front door open and the suspect, 37-year-old Edward Zamora Giron, who was lying in wait, opened fire at officers from inside the apartment, Amoroso said.
Officers returned fire and retreated, the acting police chief said.
Benedetti and Orozco were shot during the exchange of gunfire, police said.
Giron was later found deceased with a self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wound to the head and other injuries consistent with being hit by officer-related fire, Amoroso said.
Witnesses told The Tribune that the weapon Giron used appeared to be an assault-style rifle, and San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Parkinson said Tuesday “that aligns” with the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation.
Parkinson said he didn’t have a total shot count on hand, adding that investigators were still determining how many shots have been fired.
According to city officials, Benedetti worked on traffic-related patrol and investigations.
In 2019, his cases included the death of a German woman who was killed while attempting to cross Madonna Road, and a vehicle collision involving a pedestrian near the intersection of Los Osos Valley Road and Calle Joaquin.
Benedetti also investigated the death of a pedestrian who was struck by a car on Tank Farm Road and killed in February 2020.
Benedetti was promoted to detective about six months ago, Amoroso said, which is considered a “prestigious” position within the department.
Benedetti’s role as a detective focused on property-related crimes.
Benedetti received the 2017 Top Cop Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for “outstanding vigilance in protecting our citizens from drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.”
Nick Wilson is a reported for the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.