Though the San Luis Obispo Police Department initially reported that Brian Joseph Lawler, 26, “appeared to have purposely jumped” from the multistory parking garage at the corner of Palm and Morro street on July 18, a San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office report reversed that determination on July 31.
According to Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Tony Cipolla, the coroner listed Lawler’s cause of death as “multiple blunt force trauma,” and the manner of death to be accidental.
“There was no suicide note, no indicators given to his family or friends, and no eyewitnesses,” Cipolla told New Times. “The coroner has to make a determination based on the facts. He can’t make assumptions.”
Cipolla said there was a person who observed Lawler at the top of the garage and went inside the structure to speak with the attendant. However, Lawler had already fallen when that person went back outside.
According to Cipolla, the Sheriff’s Department is still waiting to receive the toxicology results from Lawler’s autopsy, which are unlikely to contradict the “accidental” determination.
“It’s a sad and tragic case any way you look at it,” Cipolla said.