Los Angeles

Widow of slain El Monte police sergeant to file $25M claim against LA County district attorney

EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) — The family of a slain El Monte police sergeant and their attorney on Tuesday are expected to announce a $25 million legal action against the Los Angeles County district attorney and the county over the sergeant’s death.

Janine Paredes, the widow of police Sgt. Michael Paredes, is filing the claim against DA George Gascón.

The district attorney faced criticism following the shooting deaths of Paredes and El Monte police Officer Joseph Santana in June after it was determined that the gunman, identified as Justin William Flores, was on probation for a weapon violation that critics contended should have resulted in him being placed behind bars.

“For reasons currently unknown and with overwhelming indifference, Justin Flores was allowed to continue his rampage of criminal violence against the unsuspecting people, including two dedicated police officers,” attorney Mark Peacock said in a statement. “The District Attorney’s Office and the County Probation Department created an opportunity for an already violent man to take the life of Michael Paredes, a beloved husband, father, friend, son and police officer.”

Santana, 31, and Paredes, 42, were fatally shot June 14 outside a suburban motel.

They were memorialized the following week at El Monte’s civic center by city residents, community leaders, family members and fellow police officers.

At the memorial, Acting Police Chief Ben Lowry praised the fallen officers for their character and bravery, and said they would not be forgotten.

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

Both men were raised in El Monte, where mourners placed flowers and messages of thanks outside the police station in the city of 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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