More details emerge in fatal shooting of 2 El Monte police officers

With preparations underway for a memorial service for two El Monte police officers killed last week during a confrontation at a motel with a suspect, an investigator on Monday revealed more details about what transpired at the Siesta Inn.

Cpl. Michael Paredes, Officer Joseph Santana and a sergeant who is a field supervisor went to the motel at 10327 Garvey Ave. on June 14 to check to see if there was a woman who was injured, possibly stabbed, Sheriff’s Lt. Omar Camacho said.

As far as he knows, the officers arrived separately. In one of the rooms were 35-year-old Justin Flores and his wife, he said. Flores had a handgun, he said.

“At a certain point, she stepped out,” Camacho said, adding there was a shooting within a short time after the woman left the room.

Both officers were shot in the room, he said.

Flores left the room.

“He was trying to flee,” Camacho said.

Flores encountered other officers arriving at the scene, he said. The second police shooting broke out in the parking lot.

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The sergeant was shot in the leg and Flores was wounded by police, but it hasn’t been determined yet if it happened during the shooting in the room or in the parking lot, according to Camacho. He said the sergeant was treated and released Tuesday night.

Flores died from a gunshot wound to the head and the coroner ruled his death as a suicide. Camacho didn’t say if Flores took and used one of the officers’ guns.

Paredes and Santana later died at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are still conducting interviews and viewing video which includes body cam video, surveillance video and video from the public, he added. Other people need to be interviewed again, he said.

Flores, who already had a strike on his record due to an earlier burglary conviction, was on probation for a gun violation when the shooting happened in El Monte.

On March 19, 2020, a prosecutor charged him with being a felon in possession of a weapon, being a felon in possession of ammunition and drug possession. The crimes happened on March 14, 2020.

Flores took a deal, pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a weapon and was sentenced on Feb. 10, 2021 to two years probation, 20 days in county jail and 30 days community labor. The two other charges were dismissed.

Pursuant to the California strike law, a minimum sentence for Flores would have been 32 months, Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall said in an earlier interview.

Santana’s mother, Olga Garcia, has blamed District Attorney George Gascón’s policies, which she said led to Flores being released early.

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