El Monte’s City Hall and all city facilities will close to the public Monday to allow employees to mourn the loss of two police officers who were killed in the line of duty last week.
Corporal Michael Paredes, 42, and Officer Joseph Santana, 31, were fatally shot Tuesday after they entered a motel room to confront a suspect in a reported stabbing. The suspect, 35-year-old Justin William Flores, died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.
“My employees are grieving the loss of two officers who were part of our El Monte family,” City Manager Alma Martinez said Friday in announcing the closure. “As we all cope with this tragedy, we are making counseling services available to all our staff and providing them with the support they need. This is the time for our Council, staff, and community to be united, support one another and grow closer together as we heal.”
The city has coordinated with two professionals from Managed Health Network providers, who will provide on-site counseling Monday at the following locations:
- Aquatics Center: 8-11 a.m.
- Public Works Yard: 8-11 a.m.
- City Hall West: 1-5 p.m.
- City Hall East: 1-5 p.m.
Lunch will also be provided to all city employees at the El Monte Police Department’s outdoor patio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Paredes and Santana were shot in the head at around 5:10 p.m. Tuesday at the Siesta Inn, 10327 Garvey Ave., and later transported to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where they died.
Flores’ wife, Diana Flores, told CBS2 she was at the motel room with him Tuesday when the 911 call was made, saying the responding officers “were trying to help me.”
“I’m so deeply sorry,” she told the station. “My condolences for saving me.”
She said she tried to warn the officers that Flores was armed.
“I told them before they went in the room, ‘Don’t go in — he has a gun.”‘
On Saturday, hundreds of San Gabriel Valley residents and community leaders mourned the two officers during a candlelight vigil at the El Monte Civic Center.
“It’s unfortunate it takes tragedy to bring the community together,” El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona told the crowd. “However, I am grateful that we are here to mourn the lives of these two brave men.”
An official fundraising page to help the officers’ families can be found at porac.org/fundraiser/el-monte-police-officers.
Funeral arrangements were still pending on Sunday.