“That’s the last picture he took with his little girl on her birthday”, says Consuelo Solorio showing off a picture of her late son Francisco Solorio Jr. hanging on the wall of her Orcutt home.
39 year old Solorio Jr., whose nickname was Paquito, was killed by a Great White shark while surfing with friends at Surf Beach west of Lompoc in October 2012.
“You know what its even a little bit worse, harder”, Consuelo Solorio says about dealing with the loss of her son under such tragic circumstances nearly two years later, “we try to face it, even if its hard, because in October, they know, everybody knows.”
Francisco Solorio Sr. and his wife Consuelo say they re-live their nightmare every time they see, read or hear about a shark attack along the California coast including a surfer who had a piece of his board bit off by a shark last Saturday at the Oceano Dunes State Park.
“Just like that,everything, it comes back” Consuelo Solorio says, “like I say its been hard, but we have been trying so hard.”
Now, since a Pismo Beach lifegard made a credible shark sighting on Sunday, the warning signs will remain posted for several more days.
California State Parks and their allied public safety agencies in San Luis Obispo County voluntarily post shark warning signs usually with a five day public notice window, citing the over-riding priority of ensuring public health and safety.
Beachcombers Central Coast News spoke with favor shark warning notices anytime they are spotted in the water.
“Sometimes you will go to a beach and there won’t be anything going on there at all and you won’t even think about it”, says beach visitor Stephen Heisner, “but if you know something has happened then you might be a little more weary about it.”
Others wonder why they just don’t make the warning signs permanent.
“That’s true because they are there all the time, year round”, says beach visitor Brenda Rash, “that’s where they live, they live in the ocean, common sense.”
As they approach the two year anniversary of their son’s death, Francisco and Consuelo Solorio say they realize people will still go into the local waters regardless of any risk that may or may not exist.
“Very good idea”, Consuelo Solorio says about permanent shark warning signs at all public beaches, “you know what, I just tell the kids, I call them kids, his friends, please don’t go to Lompoc Surf Beach, I don’t think they should be in the water, but everybody decide what they want to do, if they go to them and play in the water, its up to them to know that its not safe.”
Francisco Solorio Jr. is the third person to be killed by a shark attack along the Central Coast in the past ten years.
19 year old UCSB student Lucas Ransom was killed while surfing at Surf Beach in October 2010.
And 50 year old Allan Hancock College instructor Deborah Franzman was killed after a shark attacked her while she was swimming in Avila Bay back in August of 2003.