Procession Honor Slain El Monte Police Officers – Los Angeles

Wednesday’s procession saw two El Monte Police Department officers honored by their colleagues.

El Monte Police Department Officer Joseph Santana (31) and Cpl. Michael Paredes (42), were shot to death Tuesday at a motel east Los Angeles. The officers’ bodies will be taken by the procession from the coroner’s offices to Glendora’s funeral home.

Residents, community leaders, and family members of El Monte honored them Saturday night at El Monte’s civic centre.

Ben Lowry, acting chief police officer, praised fallen officers for their courage and character and promised to never forget them.

“They were the best of us. They were the best of us. I’m a better man having known each of them,” Lowry said.

Both men were born in El Monte. In El Monte, mourners left flowers and thanks messages outside the El Monte Police Station. El Monte is home to 107,000 people. They became only the third and fourth officers in the El Monte Police Department’s history to die in the line of duty.

Justin Flores, the 35-year-old gunman who killed the officers, died of a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide, a coroner’s report said Saturday.

Officers were dispatched to the motel in an attempt to investigate reports that a woman might have been stabbed.

Sheriff’s homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer claims that officers confronted the suspect, and that gunfire broke out inside the motel room. Additional gunfire was exchanged between officers and the gunman, who fled out.

Flores was under probation for a gun crime at the time that the shooting occurred, according to court records.

Santana has left behind his wife, a child and two boys. Paredes is survived his wife, a child and a boy.

Melissa Valencia, Paredes’ sister said that her brother was a big hugger and had a big smile. He inspired her children to follow his example in public service, she said.

“Choose your path in life, choose leadership and choose to be the change this community needs, just like Michael did,”Valencia spoke during the vigil.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California established a fundraising campaign on behalf of the officers’ families.

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