Memorial ceremony honors 2 El Monte police officers killed in the line of duty last year

Tim Pulliam Image
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Memorial wall honors 2 El Monte officers killed in the line of duty
A memorial wall was unveiled honoring two El Monte police officers who were shot and killed while responding to a report of a stabbing at motel one year ago.

EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- A solemn ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon to honor two El Monte police officers who were shot and killed one year ago while responding to a report of a stabbing at a motel.

Police Sgt. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana are among several fallen law enforcement officers whose likenesses appear on a new memorial wall unveiled at the ceremony.

The somber event included a flyover by a police helicopter as the officers' colleagues, loved ones and community members gathered outside El Monte police headquarters.

"Having him miss out on all these amazing events that are happening in our children's lives has been the most difficult thing," said Janine Paredes, widow of Michael Paredes.

The family of a slain El Monte police sergeant and their attorney on Tuesday announced a $25 million legal action against the Los Angeles County district attorney and the county over the sergeant's death.

On June 14, 2022, Paredes and Santana were gunned down outside a motel by a convicted felon, identified by authorities as Justin William Flores, who was on probation for a weapons violation. Flores later died by suicide.

Critics say Flores should have previously remained incarcerated rather than being out of custody. The slain officers' families say the justice system failed to protect the officers and the community.

"This is my story, but this is the story of so many others who are victims of people who are on the street that should not be," Janine Paredes said.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has previously said that Flores' release was appropriate because he did not have a violent history.

"The county of Los Angeles stands with you," L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis told the assembled mourners. "We mourn with you. We were here and we will continue to be here."

Paredes' family has filed a $25-million civil lawsuit against Gascón and the county. The plaintiffs' attorney says the case is pending.