SLOPD responded to eight calls about gunman during pandemic

Edward Zamora Giron

In the lead-up to a reportedly mentally ill man shooting and killing a San Luis Obispo police detective and wounding another officer, police responded to eight 911 calls about the suspect. [Tribune]

On May 10, six officers attempted to serve a search warrant at Edward Giron’s San Luis Obispo apartment. When Giron did not respond to police, officers broke down the door of the apartment and found him lying in wait. 

A shootout ensued, during which Giron shot and killed Detective Luca Benedetti. Detective Steve Orozco was shot multiple times but survived. Giron died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and other injuries from being struck by the officers’ return fire.

Last June and July, Giron lost his jobs at The Pad Climbing in SLO and the San Luis Obispo Costco. As a result of the pandemic and losing his jobs, Giron became isolated and depressed, his mother has said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Luis Obispo police received eight calls for service related to Giron. Additionally, officers previously encountered Giron in a 2007 vehicle collision and a 2010 traffic stop.

The eight recent 911 calls spanned March 2020 through Jan. 2021. The incidents included calls about noise, welfare checks and suspicious activity at Giron’s apartment. SLO Police Department records stemming from the calls show a worsening of the symptoms of Giron’s mental illness.

Among the eight calls for service, on July 11, a 911 caller told police Giron was “exhibiting signs of mania and paranoia.” One of the officers who responded to the call had been in contact with a close friend of Giron’s who had warned police that he owned unregistered firearms. In the incident report, the officer wrote Giron is “very skeptical” of police.

On Jan. 8, a neighbor reported a man was on a balcony screaming and crying with music blasting, prompting police to respond to Giron’s apartment. The following day, an officer arrested Giron for public intoxication after an incident at Trader Joe’s. 

On May 8, 2021, two days before the fatal shooting, Giron was suspected to have burglarized a gas station. In that incident, police responded to the Valero gas station on Higuera Street after a caller reported the front glass door had been shattered and someone had stolen cartons of cigarettes. 

Friends, family and neighbors of Giron warned officers repeatedly over months prior to the fatal shooting that the suspect was mentally ill. 

Additionally, Giron had encounters with other law enforcement. The SLO County Sheriff’s Office was once contacted with a request to check on Giron’s welfare.

Likewise, on July 10, 2020, Giron was arrested in Santa Barbara for unauthorized entry of a dwelling, disorderly conduct and possession of stolen property. Then on Oct. 18, emergency personnel rescued Giron after he swam out to sea.