Photo courtesy of San Luis Obispo Police Department/Facebook.
Two small American towns, different in nearly every way, were connected in headlines Monday by the on-duty shooting deaths of local law enforcement officers.
Deep in rural Central Texas, in a town best known for hunting ranches, two sheriff’s deputies were killed when a noise complaint escalated to gunfire in the small town of Eden. Meanwhile, in coastal Southern California, in a town known primarily for its nearby surfing beaches, a San Luis Obispo police detective was killed serving a warrant.
In the Texas shooting, sheriff’s deputies in Concho County, halfway between Austin and Midland, were called to a local home for reports of a barking dog. There, a man the police identified as Jeffrey Nicholas allegedly shot and killed both deputies and wounded a city employee who had come to the home with them.
After a standoff with police, Nicholas was coaxed into surrendering by his neighbor Pete Torres, Eden’s mayor. Authorities have not released the deputies’ identities.
In California, San Luis Obispo Police Department officials said Detective Luca Benedetti had been killed serving a search warrant on a suspect in a string of local late-night business burglaries.
“I had the distinct pleasure of working with Luca over the past nine years,” acting San Luis Obispo Police Chief Brian Amoroso said at a Tuesday press conference. “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.”
Amoroso said that Benedetti had been one of six officers serving a warrant on Edward Zamora Giron. The police identified themselves, then broke down Giron’s door. Giron fired at the officers. Benedetti was killed, and a second officer was hurt. Police returned fire and eventually found Giron dead. He appeared to have shot himself after being struck by police bullets.
Benedetti leaves behind a wife and two young children, police said.
A San Luis Obispo Police Department officer was killed in the line of duty as a result of a shooting that occurred while SLOPD officers were serving a search warrant today.
— San Luis Obispo Police Department (@SLOCityPolice) May 11, 2021
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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