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El Monte cancels Pride Night while city continues to mourn 2 fallen officers

El Monte city officials have postponed a Main Street Farmer’s Market and Pride Night event scheduled for Thursday as the community continued to mourn the loss of two police officers.

The event was postponed “until further notice,” officials said.

Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana were gunned down while responding to a report of a possible stabbing in a room at the Siesta Inn, 10327 Garvey Ave., Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The suspect, identified by coroner’s officials as Justin William Flores, 35, ran out into the parking lot and was killed in a second gun battle with police, officials have said.

Paredes, 42, was a 22-year veteran of the El Monte Police Department, city officials said. Santana, 31, was in his first year on the force after working at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for three years.

Both men grew up in El Monte and were living in Upland, officials said. They were both married fathers.

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Flores was on probation for a gun violation and had a strike on his record for a burglary more than a decade ago, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and court records.

Family members told NBC Los Angeles that he worked in construction and sometimes stayed at the motel.

His mother, Lynn Covarrubias, said in a brief interview at her home on Thursday morning that the call made from the motel to police about a stabbing that evening was “fraudulent.” She declined to say who made the call.

“I do feel sorry for the cops and their families,” she said. “I send my condolences. But my son was still a person.”

Covarrubias said Diana Flores, her son’s wife, was not stabbed. “She was not being held captive,” the mother said. “He was in his underwear.”

Diana Flores, told NBC Wednesday that Justin Flores was abusing her and accused him of stabbing her the day before Tuesday’s shooting. She said she went to the motel to get away from him, but he found and confronted her.

She told the station that she had told officers not to go in the room because her husband had a gun, but they went in anyway.

“I am so deeply sorry. They didn’t deserve that, or their families,” she told NBC Los Angeles. “I didn’t want anyone to get hurt in this. The only person getting hurt was me and now two other innocents.”

She added that her husband had changed in the last year.

“I love my husband to death but like I said, this wasn’t my husband,” she said. “This was a monster.”

A candlelight vigil to remember the two fallen officers is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at the front steps of the Civic Center and was open to the public with parking available at the courthouse, city officials said.

The weekly farmer’s market runs Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. on Main Street between Santa Anita and Tyler avenues. In May, it celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Staff writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this report.


Source: Orange County Register

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