August 17, 2022

Man accused of killing 2 Southern California died by suicide, coroner says

A man accused of ambushing and killing two police officers at a motels/" 1376 target="_blank">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 motels/" 1376 target="_blank">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.

  • El Monte police Cpl. Michael Paredes, 42, and Officer Joseph...

    El Monte police Cpl. Michael Paredes, 42, and Officer Joseph Santana, 31, were both fatally shot in the head on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, according to the coroner’s office. The officers died in a shootout with a suspect, Justin Flores, at the Siesta Inn at 10327 Garvey Ave. in El Monte. Flores was also fatally shot. (Photo courtesy of the El Monte Police Department)

  • The memorial in front of El Monte City Hall for...

    The memorial in front of El Monte City Hall for Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana who were shot and killed during a confrontation with a suspect at the Siesta Inn on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. The public and law enforcement continued to leave flowers for the officers on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (Photo by Ruby Gonzales, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/ SCNG)

  • Olga Garcia, mother of slain officer Joseph Santana speaks about...

    Olga Garcia, mother of slain officer Joseph Santana speaks about her son and a recall of DA Gascon during a press conference about the recall of Los Angeles district Attorney George Gascon and fallen officers including the two police officers that were shot and killed earlier in the week at the El Monte Police Dept. in El Monte on Friday, June 17, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A makeshift memorial with a sign that reads “Long Live...

    A makeshift memorial with a sign that reads “Long Live Justin Flores, We Love You” in front of the Siesta Inn where two El Monte police officers were killed along with the suspect in El Monte on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Naresh Bhakta, owner and operator of the La Bonita Motel...

    Naresh Bhakta, owner and operator of the La Bonita motels/" 1376 target="_blank">Motel along Garvey Ave. a neighboring motels/" 1376 target="_blank">motel close to the Siesta Inn where two El Monte police officers were killed in El Monte on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Justin Flores, the suspect accused of shooting two El Monte...

    Justin Flores, the suspect accused of shooting two El Monte police officers. (Courtesy of California Department of Corrections)

  • A South Gate Sergeant with the badge numbers across his...

    A South Gate Sergeant with the badge numbers across his badge makes his way to the makeshift memorial for two El Monte police officers who were killed in a shootout along with the suspect at the Siesta Inn motels/" 1376 target="_blank">Motel in El Monte early Tuesday in front of El Monte City Hall in El Monte on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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 held a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of the two fallen officers at the El Monte Civic Center on Saturday night.

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 Gascón, 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 motels/" 1376 target="_blank">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 motels/" 1376 target="_blank">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.”

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