One of the San Luis Obispo County deputies who shot and killed a man driving on Highway 101 last year, was sued four years earlier after he shot an unarmed man in the back. While the district attorney in Los Angeles released its review of the earlier shooting, SLO County officials have denied requests to review its investigation.
In early 2017, deputies Greg Roach and Jonathan Calvert shot and killed Josue Gallardo during a late night traffic stop in Atascadero. In a press release, the sheriff’s department painted Gallardo as a violent transient and Roach and Calvert as experienced officers.
The sheriff’s department failed to mention that shortly before before Calvert was hired by the SLO County Sheriff’s Department, he had shot a man who was running away in the back and in the elbow four years earlier.
On March 18, 2013, a man wielding a gun robbed a convenience store in Long Beach. Officers later determined Matthew Frushon, who lived across the street from the liqueur store, was a suspect in the robbery attempt.
Three days later, Calvert spotted Frushon on the street and attempted to detain him. While running from the officer, Frushon took a cell phone out of his pocket. Thinking Frushon was armed, Calvert shot him in the back and in the elbow, police said.
Following the shooting, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the incident and determined Calvert “acted lawfully in apprehending a dangerous fleeing felon and in self defense,” according to a four page district attorney’s office analysis of the shooting that was released to the public.
In late 2013, the Cochran Firm filed a lawsuit against the City of Long Beach and Frushon alleging civil rights violations, battery and negligence. On Oct. 21, 2015, the city and Calvert settled with Frushon. In late 2016, Calvert resigned from the Long Beach Police Department and was hired by the SLO County Sheriff’s Department a few months later.
Shortly after midnight on Jan. 24, 2017, deputies Calvert and Roach pulled over Josh Gallardo, 34, on Highway 101 in Atascadero. Shortly after approaching the vehicle, the deputies fired repeatedly into the car killing Gallardo.
Within hours of the shooting, Tony Cipolla, the sheriff’s department’s public information officer, said deputies had stopped Gallardo after one of the officers recognizing Gallardo’s vehicle from a domestic violence call from seven months earlier.
“As the deputies were on patrol this morning, they recognized the vehicle, pulled alongside it as it was traveling southbound on Highway 101 , identified the driver as Gallardo and knew he was wanted on domestic violence charges,” Cipolla wrote in his press release.
But on the night he was killed, Gallardo’s truck was in the shop. He was driving a rental car, according to Gallardo’s wife, Francis Gallardo, and Lee Cunningham, a former SLO County assistant district attorney.
According to the sheriff’s department, deputies Greg Roach and Jonathan Calvert approached the car, Gallardo drew a gun and the officers shot into the vehicle.
Also of concern to Josh Gallardo’s family, is the department claim that he was as a transient and a violent person. Josh Gallardo was a lifelong Paso Robles resident who was working at Kellogg’s at the time of his death. Before that, Gallardo had worked for 14 year at Food 4 Less in Paso Robles. He was a manager when he left Food 4 Less and went to Kellogg’s, his wife said.
Gallardo and his wife were together for 16 years. They have two sons, a 5-year-old and an 12-year-old.
But last summer, Francis Gallardo told Josh Gallardo she wanted a divorce. Josh Gallardo then held a knife to his own throat and threatened to kill himself, Francis Gallardo said.
Francis Gallardo tried to take the knife from her husband, who pushed her away. Francis Gallardo then called 911 and her husband was arrested on charges of domestic violence, she said.
“He was never violent to me, he just pushed me away,” Francis Gallardo said.
After Josh Gallardo violated a restraining order, a warrant for his arrest was filed, Francis Gallardo said. Josh Gallardo then moved into his mother’s home, though he would at times stay in a hotel.
“They are painting him as a homeless guy,” Francis Gallardo said. “He was definitely not homeless.”
Following the shooting, the sheriff’s department initiated an administrative review of the incident and placed Roach and Calvert on paid administrative leave. The department finished its investigation last year and sent its finding to the district attorney’s office.
“We do a review of the evidence and try to make a determination of either justifiable homicide or criminal homicide,” said Lee Cunningham, former assistant district attorney.
Because of concerns regarding the shooting and misinformation from the sheriff’s department, Cunningham said the district attorney’s office planed to make at least a portion of its report and findings public.
However, County Counsel Rita Neal recommended not releasing information from the district attorneys’ investigation to the public, in an email that says the only official statements available to the media are those released by the sheriff’s department.
In the email, Neal said that “all the information that is required to be disclosed has been publicly released in prior press releases issued by the sheriff’s office,” the same press releases that included information deemed false by the district attorney’s office.