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Man accused of killing 2 El Monte officers died by suicide, coroner says

A man accused of ambushing and killing two police officers at a motel in El Monte died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s report.

Justin Flores was pronounced dead on a sidewalk outside the Siesta Inn shortly after he shot and killed Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana when they responded to the motel on a report of a possible stabbing Tuesday, June 14, the report states.

After shooting both officers in the head, Flores ran out into the parking lot and exchanged a second volley of gunfire with other officers who arrived, authorities said. It wasn’t known how long Flores exchanged gunfire with police before turning the gun on himself.

Whether he also was struck by the officers was not disclosed.

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Paredes, 42, was a 22-year veteran of the El Monte Police Department, while Santana, 31, was in his first year there after working for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for three years.

Both were married fathers who lived in Upland and had grown up in El Monte.

Officials are holding a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of the two fallen officers at the El Monte Civic Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 18.

Flores had previous convictions for burglary and vehicle theft and in 2021 pleaded guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, sparking criticism of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, as family members and critics claim Flores would have been in prison if not for his policies.

Flores was sentenced to 20 days in jail and two years probation after the plea agreement, but Eric Siddall, a deputy district attorney, said Friday that Flores should have been given a minimum sentence of 32 months in prison pursuant to the California strike law.

The DA’s office has said managers in the office had reviewed facts of that case and the offer “was on par with offers in previous administrations.”

Flores’ wife, Diana Flores, told television reporters this week that her husband had attacked her days prior to the shooting and that she had gone to motel to get away from him, but he followed.

She claimed she told the officers that her husband had a gun before they went into the motel room.

“I am so deeply sorry, my deepest condolences for saving me, I’m so, so, so sorry,” Diana Flores said. “They didn’t deserve that, or their families. They were trying to help me.”


Source: Orange County Register

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