2 California police officers were fatally shot in head, coronaner says

The two El Monte officers killed in a shootout with a suspect earlier this week were both shot in the head, according to the coroner’s office.

Cpl. Michael Paredes, 42, and the Officer Joseph Santana, 31, died at Los Angeles County USC on Tuesday, June 14, following the shooting at the Siesta Inn on Garvey Avenue.

The suspect, 35-year-old Justin Flores of Whittier, has not been examined by the coroner’s office. He was also shot and died at the scene.

Paredes started as a full-time officer with the El Monte Police Department in 2000, was married and has a son and daughter. Santana had worked for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department before joining El Monte police in 2021. He was married and has a daughter and twin boys.

A candlelight vigil for the officers will be held 7 pm Saturday, June 18, at the front steps of the Civic Center, 11333 Valley Blvd. in El Monte. Parking is available at the nearby courthouse.

Paredes and Santana went to the Siesta Inn on Tuesday night to check the welfare of a woman who possibly had been stabbed, according to a sheriff’s statement. They encountered a woman and a man.

The woman was Flores’ wife, Diana, according to Lynn Covarrubias, who is Flores’ mother.

Sheriff’s Investigators have released few details. There was a shooting inside the motel, then the second shooting happened in the parking lot. Detectives found a gun at the scene but have not said the make or model of the weapon.

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