sunny.png
Thursday September 29th, 2022 8:21AM

Wife says she tried to warn police before deadly shooting

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) — The wife of a man who killed two Southern California police officers Tuesday in a shootout told a television station that her husband had previously attacked her and she warned the officers that he had a gun inside a suburban Los Angeles motel.

The gunman, identified as Justin William Flores, was shot and killed at the scene. His wife told KCBS-TV that he had attacked her two days ago and she had moved into the motel to escape him but he tracked her down.

“I am so deeply sorry, my deepest condolences for saving me, I’m so, so, so sorry,” Diana Flores tearfully told the TV station. “They didn’t deserve that, or their families. They really didn’t. They were trying to help me and I told them before they went in the room, ‘Don’t go in. He has a gun.’”

The officers — Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, who were identified Wednesday — were both slain while investigating a possible stabbing at a motel in El Monte.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that flags at the state Capitol will be flown at half-staff in their honor.

Paredes and Santana — one on the force for more than two decades and the other for just months — were both were raised in and worked for the city of El Monte, a suburb of 107,000 people in the San Gabriel Valley. They became only the third and fourth officers in the El Monte Police Department’s history to die in the line of duty. A vigil is scheduled for Saturday.

Flores was on probation for a gun charge at the time of the shooting, which occurred a day after his probation officer requested that he return to court later in the month, court records show.

The coroner’s office has not yet released the name of the suspect but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office identified Flores to The Associated Press.

Mourners on Wednesday left bouquets, wreaths of flowers and candles outside the El Monte police station to honor the fallen officers.

“Corporal Paredes and Officer Santana paid the ultimate sacrifice,” the city of El Monte wrote in a news release, “while in performance of a noble profession, serving the community they loved.”

Flores, 35, served two stints in state prison for vehicle theft and burglary, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and was most recently released in 2012.

In March 2020, Flores was arrested and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possession of narcotics for personal use. He pleaded guilty last year to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony charge that could have sent him back to prison for three years.

Instead he was sentenced to two years of probation and 20 days in jail and LA County District Attorney George Gascón, who is facing a recall effort for his progressive policies, is facing criticism for Flores’ plea deal.

“The sentence he received in the firearm case was consistent with case resolutions for this type of offense given his criminal history and the nature of the offense,” the DA’s office said in a statement Wednesday. “At the time the court sentenced him, Mr. Flores did not have a documented history of violence.”

Court records obtained by AP do not specify why Flores’ probation officer had requested Monday that he return to court; records show that a hearing was scheduled for June 27.

The county’s probation department declined to comment and Flores’ attorney in the case did not return a request for comment on Wednesday. But the Los Angeles Times reported that Flores had violated his probation, triggering the return to court.

Few details have emerged about what occurred during Tuesday’s violence. The officers went to the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, for a welfare check where a woman had possibly been stabbed.

The officers “confronted the suspect,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer said Tuesday.

Gunfire erupted inside a motel room and the gunman then fled into the parking lot, where more gunfire was exchanged, Meyer said.

Meyer said he didn’t know whether the officers were shot inside the motel or outside. They died at a hospital. A gun was found at the scene.

Meyer said investigators were interviewing a woman from the hotel who they believe was the suspect’s girlfriend. Diana Flores, who described herself as the suspect’s wife and had his first name tattooed on her chest, told KCBS that officers must have been reacting to a “false call” because she hadn’t been stabbed on Tuesday.

“I got stabbed the day before that,” she told the TV station.

Paredes, 42, started as a cadet in the department before becoming a full-time officer in 2000, according to a news release. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

Santana, 31, had been with the El Monte force for less than a year when he was killed. He previously served as a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for three years, the news release stated.

This tragic loss hits close to home for us,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter. “He was a great partner and loved by all who knew him.”

Santana also worked as a part-time public works employee for El Monte for six years before turning to law enforcement. He is survived by his wife, daughter and twin sons.

El Monte interim Police Chief Ben Lowry on Tuesday called the officers heroes.

“These two men were loved,” Lowry said. “They were good men. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving their community trying to help somebody.”

“They were murdered by a coward and we are grieving, and that hurts,” he said.

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said the officers died “while trying to keep a family safe.”

The killings came just one day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot and critically wounded during a traffic stop in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.

The 27-year-old officer is expected to recover, authorities said. A bloodhound helped police track down the suspect, who surrendered to police Tuesday in a homeless encampment in the San Fernando Valley.

___

Dazio reported from Los Angeles. News researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed from New York City.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Avalanche beat Lightning in OT to open Stanley Cup Final
Andre Burakovsky scored 1:23 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche opened the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night
12:21AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Wife says she tried to warn police before deadly shooting
The wife of a man who killed two police officers in a Los Angeles suburb says she warned them he had a gun
12:19AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Lightning look like the upstarts in Game 1 loss to Avalanche
For much of the game it looked as if the Colorado Avalanche and not the Tampa Bay Lightning were the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions
12:18AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Palin, Begich, Gross advance in Alaska US House race
Republican former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Nick Begich and independent Al Gross have advanced to the August special election for the state’s only U.S. House seat
11:58PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Detroit honors Vincent Chin, Asian American killed in 1982
Detroit is helping to honor Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man who was beaten to death 40 years ago by two white men who never served jail time
11:56PM ( 29 minutes ago )
In Louisiana, Native Americans struggle to recover from Ida
As another hurricane season gets started, many Native American residents in southeast Louisiana are still struggling to recover from last year's Hurricane Ida
11:53PM ( 33 minutes ago )
AP National News
Avalanche beat Lightning in OT to open Stanley Cup Final
Andre Burakovsky scored 1:23 into overtime and the Colorado Avalanche opened the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night
12:21AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Lightning look like the upstarts in Game 1 loss to Avalanche
For much of the game it looked as if the Colorado Avalanche and not the Tampa Bay Lightning were the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions
12:18AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Election 'deniers' quiet on fraud claims after primary wins
Dozens of Republican candidates who sought Donald Trump’s endorsement have spent months parroting the former president's baseless claims of 2020 election fraud
12:12AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Machado homers in hit parade, Padres pelt Cubs 19-5.
Manny Machado lined a single for his 1,500th hit and hit a two-run homer in a four-RBI night to help the San Diego Padres beat the reeling Chicago Cubs 19-5
12:11AM ( 15 minutes ago )
What we know about how Pence's day unfolded on Jan. 6
Former Vice President Mike Pence won’t be testifying at Thursday’s Jan. 6 committee hearing
12:09AM ( 16 minutes ago )