Gang Member Who Killed El Monte Police Officers Was Released on Probation Prior to Shooting

AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura

Another day, another tragic example of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s failures.

On Tuesday night, two El Monte Police officers were gunned down while responding to a possible stabbing at a motel.

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On Wednesday, city and county coroner’s officials identified the officers as Corporal Michael Domingo Paredes and Officer Joseph Anthony Santana.

Both men “were raised in the city of El Monte and had a strong connection to the community they served,” city officials said in a statement posted to Instagram with photos of the two men.

[…]

The officers had responded to the Siesta Inn on Garvey Avenue, but were immediately taken under gunfire, officials said. They were both taken to LAC + USC Medical Center, where they died.

The suspect was shot and killed by at least one other officer outside of the hotel, officials have said. He died at the scene and had not yet been identified as of Wednesday afternoon.

Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin gave an update with information on the now-dead suspect.

Justin William Flores was a gang member who was on probation for felony with a firearm. Thanks to Gascón’s soft-on-crime directives, Flores only received a “bare minimum sentence” in a plea deal:

Melugin’s law enforcement sources told him that Flores had a previous strike conviction in 2011. Had Gascón’s directives not been in place when the case came up for trial in February of 2021, Flores would have been sentenced to two to three-and-a-half years jail time at the minimum. Because of Gascón’s directives which remove prior convictions, gang, and firearm enhancements, Flores received two years’ probation and was released.

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Had Flores been in jail, he would not have been at the Siesta Inn to murder the officers.

After San Francisco recalled their district attorney Chesa Boudin on June 7, the deluge of Gascón’s policies failures leave him ripe for a fall.

Here is a recent short list on the destructiveness of Gascón’s directives:

  • An intoxicated teen who mowed into a mother and her baby, almost killing them both, only received five months in “probation camp.” It was later revealed that he had also violated parole.
  • Hannah Tubbs, now a transgendered woman, sexually assaulted a 10-year old girl when he was just shy of his 18th birthday. Now 26, Tubbs was tried as a juvenile and only received probation. In a jailhouse conversation with his father, Tubbs maligned the victim and laughed about getting away with the molestation.
  • Convicted murderer and gang member Luis Angel Hernandez bragged on jailhouse audio that Gascón is a “champ” and vowed to get Gascón’s name tattooed on his face for dropping his gun and gang enhancements.
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On Wednesday morning, the Recall George Gascón organizers spoke with Melugin and said they have reached 567,000 unverified signatures. The organizers also told Melugin that in the last few days alone, they have collected over 30,000 signatures! As a strategy, they plan to gather 650,000 or more signatures, in order to pad the number and ensure that the necessary, 566,857 verified signatures are secured for the recall vote to appear on the November 2022 ballot; the deadline to achieve that is July 6.

For the county of Los Angeles, removing Gascón has become an imperative, and they appear to be close to achieving that goal. The slaying of the El Monte police officers will only serve to stoke the fire.

For the grieving widows and families of Officers Paredes and Santana, that Gascón has implied that his office may pay for the funeral expenses of the cop-killer “regardless of the state of the investigation or charging decision” can only further compound that grief.

Ironic, as their blood and deaths are on Gascón’s hands.

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Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article indicated Gascón implied his office might pay for the funeral expenses of the slain officers. Rather, it is the cop killer whose funeral expenses may be covered pursuant to the policy of Gascón’s office. We regret the error. 

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