LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two California police officers were shot and killed and a third was wounded within 24 hours this week in two separate incidents, authorities said Tuesday.
The deaths occurred during National Police Week, an annual event that honors law enforcement officers who were killed or disabled in the line of duty.
Jimmy Inn, an officer in the Northern California city of Stockton, was fatally shot Tuesday morning while responding to a domestic violence incident, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said in a news conference.
In San Luis Obispo, a central California city about 250 miles south of Stockton, Detective Lucas “Luca” Benedetti was shot and killed while serving a search warrant Monday evening.
Detective Steve Orozco was injured in the San Luis Obispo shooting, police said. He was released from a hospital and is expected to recover from his wounds.
Stockton domestic disturbance
In Stockton, police dispatchers received a call around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday reporting a domestic disturbance. The caller reported hearing screaming and seeing a woman wearing a ripped shirt and bleeding. She appeared to have been assaulted.
Inn arrived at the home at 10:07 a.m. and was shot almost immediately in front of the home by a male suspect, Jones said.
“It was a violent, blatant and very sudden assault on our police officer,” the chief said.
A second officer, whose name was not released, arrived and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. The suspect then went into the home and returned moments later holding a young child.
The suspect began to strangle the child, an 8-year-old boy, Jones said. The officer opened fire again as a bystander tackled the suspect.
The suspect’s name has not been released. He died at the hospital. It was not immediately clear what relationship he had with the woman and the child.
Inn, 30, is survived by his wife, who is also a Stockton police officer, as well as a 7-month old son, 12-year-old stepdaughter and a 14-year-old stepson.
He was hired by the police department in December 2015, Jones said. Remembered as an optimistic officer who was popular in the department, Inn was assigned to the Field Operations Division.
Inn also served in the department’s honor guard, “who honor fallen officers in other jurisdictions,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement expressing condolences to “the loved ones and friends of yet another fallen California hero.”
San Luis Obispo shooting
In San Luis Obispo, Benedetti was fatally injured in a shootout in an apartment in the Central Coast city, officials said during a news conference. He was a a 12-year law enforcement veteran and a detective in the city’s police department.
“Jennifer and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Detective Benedetti who made the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty,” Newsom said in another statement. “His tragic death underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who courageously risk their lives to protect communities throughout California, and we will never forget his sacrifice.”
Benedetti and five other officers had been at the apartment for an investigation into items stolen in a string of late-night commercial burglaries in the city that’s about 200 miles north of Los Angeles.
Police said gunman Edward Zamora Giron had been lying in wait inside the apartment and fired at the officers before shooting and killing himself. He also had wounds sustained in the shootout. Police initially said that he had been killed by officers’ fire.
Officers arrived at the apartment in San Luis Obispo around 5 p.m. to serve the warrant, seeking the stolen property from the commercial burglaries over the past week, said Brian Amoroso, acting chief of the police department.
The officers knocked and announced themselves, Amoroso said, but there was no response from inside the apartment. They forced the door open and found Giron inside.
Giron opened fire, and the officers began retreating and shooting back, Amoroso said. Benedetti and Orozco were struck in the gunfire, as was Giron.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said Giron had a criminal history involving mostly alcohol, drug and property offenses, but nothing violent. Giron did not have any registered firearms, and authorities were not aware of any mental illnesses he may have had, the sheriff said.
Authorities later found the stolen property inside the apartment, Parkinson said.
Benedetti had worked for the San Luis Obispo Police Department since 2012, after serving at the Atascadero Police Department for four years. He was a member of the regional SWAT team. The 37-year-old is survived by his wife, Grace, and two young daughters.
“This is a tragedy beyond measure for all of those who serve and care about our community,” City Manager Derek Johnson said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family. We are devastated by this loss.”