An officer-involved shooting two years ago is at the heart of a lawsuit against the County of San Luis Obispo, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and two deputies.
On January 24, 2017, Josue Gallardo, 34, of Paso Robles, was driving a car southbound on Highway 101 near the Santa Barbara Road exit when he was pulled over by San Luis Obispo County deputies just after midnight. At the time, the sheriff’s department stated, when deputies approached the vehicle, Gallardo pulled out a gun. “Deputies fired shots and then retreated,” according to a SLO County press release. After backup arrived, Gallardo was found dead in the vehicle.
The lawsuit filed in November 2018 states Senior Deputy Greg Roach and Deputy Jonathan Calvert stopped Gallardo’s vehicle when they recognized him as he was wanted for questioning related to an earlier domestic disturbance incident. The claim states Gallardo was obeying and complying with commands given by deputies when Roach “unlawfully, improperly and maliciously” opened fire. Shortly thereafter, deputy Calvert opened fire.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Gallardo’s wife, Frances, and two children states both deputies “knew Mr. Gallardo was a non-violent individual who was battling depression and suicidal ideation for some time.” It claims wrongful detention and excessive force was used against Gallardo, violating his constitutional civil rights.
In addition, the lawsuit states San Luis Obispo County has failed to provide adequate training on use of less than lethal and lethal force as well as the treatment of persons who are suspected of suffering mental illness.
Lawyers for the family, Justin Sterling and Erin Darling, also claim the SLO County Sheriff’s Department described Gallardo as a “violent transient” despite knowing he was a “valued and gainfully employed member of society.”
The lawsuit makes no mention of whether Gallardo had a gun or pointed it at deputies during the traffic stop.
On Thursday, San Luis Obispo County Counsel Rita Neal told KSBY News the county plans to “aggressively defend this matter.” The County filed its response to the lawsuit in federal court Friday.
The suit seeks survival and wrongful death damages and attorney’s fees to be determined at a jury trial.