Woman says she tried to warn police about fatal shooting

EL MONTE, California. – The wife of a man who killed two Southern California police officers in a shooting on Tuesday told a TV station that her husband had previously assaulted her, and she warned officers he had a gun at a motel in suburban Los Angeles .

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

“I’m so sorry, my deepest condolences, that you saved 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 tried to help me and I told them before they entered the room, ‘Don’t go in. He has a gun.’”

The Officers – Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, identified Wednesday, were both killed while investigating a possible stabbing at an El Monte motel.


Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the flags at the State Capitol will be flown at half-mast in her honor.

Paredes and Santana — one with more than two decades of service, the other just a few months — both grew up and worked in the town of El Monte, a suburb of 107,000 people in the San Gabriel Valley. They became only the third and fourth officers in the history of the El Monte Police Department to die on the job. A vigil is planned for Saturday.

Flores was on probation at the time of the shooting, which came a day after his probation officer requested he return to court later in the month, court filings show.

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

Mourners left bouquets, wreaths and candles outside the El Monte Police Station on Wednesday to honor the fallen officers.


“Corporal Paredes and Officer Santana made the ultimate sacrifice,” the City of El Monte wrote in a press release, “while exercising a noble profession and serving the community they loved.”

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

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

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

“The verdict he received in the firearms case was consistent with case decisions for that type of crime given his criminal record and the nature of the crime,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement Wednesday. “When the court convicted him, Mr Flores had no documented history of violence.”


Court filings obtained by AP do not indicate why Flores’ probation officer demanded Monday that he return to court; Records show a hearing was scheduled for June 27.

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

Few details have surfaced about what happened during Tuesday’s violence. Officers went to the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, Tuesday around 4:45 p.m. to conduct a welfare check that may have involved the stabbing of a woman.

Officers “confronted the suspect,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Division Chief Andrew Meyer said Tuesday.

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

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


Meyer said investigators interviewed 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 responded to a “fake call” because she wasn’t stabbed Tuesday.

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

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

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

We are deeply touched by this tragic loss,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter. “He was a great partner and loved by everyone who knew him.”


Santana worked for El Monte as a part-time public works clerk for six years before turning to law enforcement. He leaves behind his wife, daughter and twin sons.

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

“These two men were loved,” Lowry said. “They were good men. They made the ultimate sacrifice and served their community by trying to help someone.”

“They were murdered by a coward and we mourn and it hurts,” he said.

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said officers died “trying to protect a family.”

The killings came just a day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot and seriously injured 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 the suspect who surrendered to police at a homeless camp in the San Fernando Valley on Tuesday.



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

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/16/wife-says-she-tried-to-warn-police-before-deadly-shooting/ Woman says she tried to warn police about fatal shooting

Sarah Y. Kim

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