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HomeNews'The most productive people': Loads accumulate to honor slain El Monte officials

‘The most productive people’: Loads accumulate to honor slain El Monte officials


Joseph Santana sought after to be an El Monte police officer, identical to his stepfather.

It was once a protracted adventure. He labored within the town’s repairs division for 6 years, then was a sheriff’s deputy in San Bernardino County.

In the end, he donned a gloomy blue uniform and a badge in his place of origin.

He were at the task lower than a 12 months when he was once killed, together with a fellow officer, Cpl. Michael Paredes, in a shootout at a motel on Tuesday.

“He was once a super son, brother, father and a super husband,” Santana’s mom, Olga Garcia, mentioned at a vigil Saturday. “My lifestyles won’t ever be the similar with out my son and his gorgeous smile.”

The mourners on the vigil, who numbered within the loads, held candles, which shone brightly as evening started to fall outdoor the police division the place Santana, 31, and Paredes each proudly served.

The gang spilled into the road in the back of the station. Many wore black T-shirts with the officials’ names around the again and the phrases “Fallen however no longer forgotten.”

At the back of them, a duplicate of the Statue of Liberty lifted her torch, surrounded by way of candles at her base.

A close-by memorial to the 2 officials has grown since their deaths, with piles of plant life, American flags and candles surrounding their framed pictures.

“Even all the way down to the ultimate moments in their lives, Mike and Joseph proved they had been males of personality,” Ben Lowry, performing El Monte police leader, mentioned on the vigil. “They had been the most productive people. They had been the best people. I’m a greater guy having recognized each and every of them.”

Like Santana, Paredes was once an El Monte local. His roots within the town’s Police Division had been deep — he served as a cadet sooner than changing into a full-time officer in 2000.

His sister Melissa Valencia informed the ones amassed on the vigil that her brother dearly beloved his spouse, daughter, son and neighborhood.

“Michael had an enormous middle, giant hugs for everybody and that best smile that he was once recognized for,” Valencia mentioned. “And he had a spirit to check it.”

She mentioned her brother would no longer wish to be remembered as a sufferer. She was hoping that his youngsters, and all the ones he mentored over time, would proceed his legacy of public provider.

“Let your ache gas your hearth,” Valencia mentioned. “Make a selection your trail in lifestyles, make a selection management and make a selection to be the alternate this neighborhood wishes, identical to Michael did.”

Paredes, 42, was once Santana’s coaching officer.

Olga Garcia, mother of fallen Officer Joseph Santana, looks to the sky at a candlelight vigil.

Olga Garcia, 2nd from left, mom of fallen El Monte Police Officer Joseph Santana, seems to be to the sky at a candlelight vigil for her son and every other officer, Michael Paredes.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Instances)

On Tuesday afternoon, the pair, together with an unidentified sergeant, replied to a home violence name in a room on the Siesta Inn.

Santana entered first, adopted by way of Paredes, in step with resources who requested to stay nameless as a result of they weren’t approved to talk publicly.

Inside of, Justin Flores, 35, subsidized himself into the toilet, resources informed The Instances.

Melissa Valencia stands before a microphone at a lectern in an outdoor setting

Melissa Valencia, sister of El Monte Police Cpl. Michael Paredes, addresses visitors on the vigil.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Instances)

Inside about 12 seconds, one supply mentioned, Flores ambushed the officials with gunfire. Coroner’s officers mentioned each officials died of a gunshot wound to the pinnacle.

After Paredes and Santana went down, the resources mentioned, Flores took a gun off one of the vital fallen officials and left the room, firing on the sergeant and different officials within the automobile parking space, the place a shootout ensued.

Flores fell to the bottom however endured to fireplace on the officials, then shot himself as officials moved in, resources mentioned. A gun was once discovered subsequent to his frame.

Flores were prohibited from having a gun since he was once convicted of first-degree housebreaking in 2011.

In 2020, he was once charged with being a felon in ownership of a firearm and methamphetamine.

The prosecutor assigned to that case wrote in a file that he needed to revoke the “strike” from the housebreaking conviction, which can have ended in an extended sentence, as a result of a coverage by way of Dist. Atty. George Gascón.

Three women and two men, some holding candles, at the vigil

El Monte cops, from left, Nicole Lona, Dennis Chiu, Maribel Rojas, Raul Vega and Arlen Castillo on the vigil for his or her slain colleagues.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Instances)

Mark Jimenez, the brother of Santana’s spouse, learn a letter on the vigil on her behalf, addressed to her overdue husband.

“You had been the most productive circle of relatives guy, the most productive particular person,” the letter mentioned. “I don’t understand how I’m going to are living the remainder of my lifestyles with out you, however you left me with such a lot of gorgeous reminiscences that I will be able to percentage with our young children. … You didn’t should be taken so early.”

Santana is survived by way of his spouse, daughter and dual boys.

A girl in a face mask cries as she sits between two women among the crowd

Jayde Santana, 9, middle, daughter of Officer Joseph Santana, is comforted by way of her great-grandmother Sara Pinedo, left, and grandmother Lupe Pinedo on the vigil.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Instances)

Retired Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Martin Ramirez was once amongst many within the crowd who drove miles to pay respects to the officials.

“I’m right here to make stronger my brothers in blue,” mentioned Ramirez, who retired in October. “It’s excellent to peer other people coming in combination and communities coming in combination to make stronger what we do for our communities.”

Some within the crowd held indicators calling for electorate to oust Gascón and had been amassing signatures for his recall.

Celina Lugo, who wore a “Recall Gascón” hat, mentioned she got here from the San Gabriel Valley to make stronger the households. However she mentioned she additionally sought after other people to know the consequences of Gascón’s insurance policies.

Lots of those that spoke on the vigil reminded the group to proceed supporting the bereaved households, and regulation enforcement usually, past the night time’s accumulating.

El Monte Town Councilmember Victoria Martinez Muela mentioned her town is “so robust, we’re so gorgeous.”

“We’re El Monte,” she mentioned. “Michael Paredes is El Monte, Joseph Santana is El Monte. … We will be able to no longer be damaged.”





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