El Monte Police Officers Who Perished in Action are remembered by thousands

Many people gathered Thursday morning at an Ontario service in memory of El Monte police officers killed in the line.

Officer Joseph Santana, 31 and Corporal Michael Paredes 42, were both ambushed from within a motel by gunfire as soon as they responded at 5:10 p.m. to a stabbing at El Monte’s Siesta Inn.

The shooter attempted to escape and exchange gunfire with police.

The shooting ended and the officers were taken by ambulance to a local hospital. They were declared dead at the scene. Both officers who were killed were born in El Monte and were married with children.

Justin William Flores was also killed in the gun battle. Medical examiner’s records show he died of a gunshot wound to the head, and the death was ruled a suicide.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has faced mounting criticism from some in the law enforcement community, as well as the officers’ loved ones because Flores was out on probation for a gun charge when the deadly fatal occurred.

Santana’s mother even blamed her son’s death on the top prosecutor, calling his criminal justice reform policies “insane.”

A procession of hundreds of cars from El Monte Police Department to the Toyota Arena, Ontario, preceded the ceremony.

“My hope is that the kids will come to understand the caliber of professionals their dads were,”Ben Lowry, interim chief of El Monte police, said.

Police said that Santana started his career in El Monte as a part-time worker in public works. He transitioned into law enforcement after six years and worked as a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, where he served for about three years.

He became an El Monte officer in 2021. “returning to his hometown to serve the community he grew up in,”Police said.

His wife, daughter, and twin brothers are his survivors.

Santana was described by the congregation as reliable, compassionate, kind, and understanding during the service.

“Joseph’s compassion for others is what made him a great police officer,”His sister said it. “He loved his profession. He was so proud to wear his uniform and badge, and serve the community he grew up in.”

Paredes started his career as a cadet in the El Monte Police Department. He became an officer in 2000. Paredes worked in specialized roles before he was promoted to corporal. Posthumously, he was promoted to sergeant. His wife, his daughter, and son are his survivors.

Paredes was described to be professional, level-headed and thorough.

The memorial culminated with final honors, including the El Monte police honor guard presenting flags, the 21-gun salute form the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and a flyover from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

El Monte Police Department, and El Monte Police Officers Association set up a donation pagefor the families of the fallen officers.

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