A man shot and killed by deputies along Highway 101 in Atascadero in 2017 in what was determined to be a justifiable shooting had made several suicidal remarks and was abusing cocaine prior to his death, a San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office report found.
The report, dated June 9, 2017 and addressed to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, details multiple accounts where Josue Gallardo mentioned he was going to kill himself prior to the officer-involved shooting where he reportedly pulled a BB gun on deputies.
KSBY received the report Friday in response to a public records request.
On January 24, 2017, 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 Sheriff’s 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, who reportedly had a warrant out for his arrest, was found dead in the vehicle. A total of 35 shots were fired, according to the report from the DA’s office.
A lawsuit filed last November on behalf of Gallardo’s wife, Frances, and two children, claims wrongful detention and excessive force was used against Gallardo violating his constitutional civil rights. It goes on to say that both deputies involved “knew Mr. Gallardo was a non-violent individual who was battling depression and suicidal ideation for some time.”
The lawsuit makes no mention of whether Gallardo had a gun or pointed it at deputies during the traffic stop.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office ruled the shooting justifiable and said it would not be taking further action.
The DA’s office says it does not address issues of civil liability, tactics, or departmental policies or procedures.
“It seems likely that Josue Gallardo’s suicidal mental state was at least aggravated, if not caused by, his abuse of cocaine,” the report states.
It goes on to say Gallardo had been upset prior to his death, saying his wife had cheated on him. He had also reportedly lost the job he had for 14 years and had made two suicidal comments on his Facebook page in the weeks leading up to his death.
On Jan. 20, 2017, a week before he died, the report says Gallardo checked into the Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.
The hotel associate and front desk manager reportedly had several interactions with Gallardo between Jan. 20 and Jan. 24, which included Gallardo saying he “couldn’t get over it (his wife cheating on him),” according to the report. It goes on to say one of the employees said Gallardo seemed “really paranoid” and monitored a police scanner in his car.
When stopped the night of the shooting, the report states Gallardo told the deputies, “I want you to shoot me” and “I want you to kill me.”
“By all appearances, Josue Gallardo’s downward spiral into depression and drug use coincides with the end of his relationship with his wife,” the report stated.
At the time of Gallardo’s death, the report says evidence of cocaine use was found in his hotel room, including .34 grams of cocaine in the closet and more in the closet safe.
Packaging and a manual for a “Legends” semiautomatic CO2 BB pistol were also found in the room, according to the report, along with packaging for 1,500 rounds of BBs and CO2 cartridges.
The pistol is the same one the report says was found in Gallardo’s right hand at the time of his death “and is designed and intended by the manufacturer to be an exact replica of a Walther PPK semi-automatic firearm.”
Along with the pistol, Gallardo was also found with 1.05 grams of cocaine in his right shoe, according to the report, “as well as a ‘potentially toxic’ level of cocaine in his blood.”
The report states one of the deputies began firing into the car after seeing Gallardo “reach into his pocket and pull out a gun” and swing “up and across his body toward the driver’s door.” The other deputy then began shooting after seeing the driver’s door opening and hearing the other deputy firing, according to the report.
A total of 35 shots were fired into the car, according to the report, which states it appears the deputies “fired until it seemed likely that the danger no longer presented itself.”
Both deputies began firing after believing one of them was about to be shot at, the report states. “Neither felt as though there was any other option. Once the shooting started, the deputies were unable to see clearly into the car, due to darkness, the body of the car, and shattered glass.”
Gallardo was pronounced dead at 12:35 a.m.
The DA’s Office says following the shooting, a suicide note was found in Gallardo’s trunk.
The report states in-car video corroborated the deputies’ accounts of what took place.
KSBY previously reached out to Frances Gallardo’s attorney for comment but has not yet received a response.
The suit filed on her behalf seeks survival and wrongful death damages and attorney’s fees to be determined at a jury trial.
San Luis Obispo County Counsel told KSBY in January they plan to “aggressively defend this matter.”
KSBY News has requested additional documents related to the shooting from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, which says it will take months to compile the hundreds of related documents.