El Monte and SoCal law enforcement mourn fallen officers

EL MONTE (KABC) -- A devastating loss for the city of El Monte and the entire law enforcement community, as Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, who both grew up in El Monte, were killed in the line of duty Tuesday.

Paredes was with the department for 22 years and leaves behind a wife, son and daughter.

Santana started with El Monte as a public works employee, then switched to a career in law enforcement with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, coming home to the El Monte Police Department less than one year ago. Santana leaves behind a wife and twin boys.

"I come from a family of law enforcement and friends and I feel like we need to respect our officers," said Tina Saucedo, who came to pay her respects at the memorial. "They wake up every morning to protect us and they're not bad people. They're good people that want to protect everyone and for these horrific crimes to happen, it's horrible."

Officers from other regional departments came to the memorial.

"It's a sad thing," Lameka Bell with the Hathorne Police Department said. "We've lost somebody. So, everybody's not happy right now, but that's why we're here."

Bell brought two of the department's service dogs with her.

READ MORE: 2 El Monte officers IDed after being killed in shootout with gunman; suspect's history emerges
EMBED More News Videos

Officials identified two El Monte Police Department officers who were killed in a shootout with a gunman at a motel.

"They're here just to provide comfort," Bell said. "If you want to cuddle, if you want to pet a dog or just have somebody to hold, we're here for you."

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona came to grieve with the community.

"They come out and do their jobs that they're sworn to do, to protect our community and I know it's a community that they love because obviously they started their lives here and continued to serve in law enforcement here," Ancona said. "That's something that's very special about El Monte. We come together as a community, we're family and we support each other."

Cheryl Gutierrez and two of her colleagues with the Whittier Police Department, all married to police officers, came to El Monte Wednesday for emotional support and to help in dispatch.

When Whittier police lost officer Keith Boyer five years ago, El Monte PD had their back.

"These kids just want to be police officers. They want to protect and serve and they want to help other people in the community and them being gunned down is just tragic," said Gutierrez,

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.