Hundreds gather for vigil remembering two California police officers killed in shootout

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Hundreds of people gathered in El Monte, California, to remember two police officers who were killed during a shootout last week. “Even down to the last moments of their lives, Mike and Joseph proved they were men of character,” Ben Lowry, acting El Monte police chief, said at the vigil Saturday. “They were the best of us. They were the greatest of us. I’m a better man having known each of them.”El Monte Cpl. Michael Paredes, 42, and Officer Joseph Santana, 31, were shot and killed last Tuesday evening after responding to a report of a stabbing at a motel. Paredes and Santana reportedly approached suspect Justin William Flores, 35, which led to a shootout. The two officers were pronounced dead at a local Los Angeles area hospital, while Flores died by suicide after turning the gun on himself, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office. SLAIN LA AREA POLICE OFFICERS WERE ‘AMBUSHED’ BY ‘COWARD’ WHILE ’TRYING TO SAVE A FAMILY,’ OFFICIALS SAYThe vigil was held Saturday evening at El Monte’s civic center where the families of the fallen officers read memories of the men, other law enforcement officers paid their respects, and even comfort dogs were present to offer support to those grieving. 
The city of El Monte announced Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana were killed in the line of duty. 
(City of El Monte)At one point, Santana’s brother-in-law read a letter penned by the fallen officer’s widow to those gathered. TWO LOS ANGELES-AREA OFFICERS DIE IN SHOOTOUT WITH SUSPECT “Every inch of my body is broken missing you,” Mark Jimenez said while reading his sister’s letter. “I miss your kisses, your cuddles, your voice. I miss seeing you playing with the kids.””I never knew this level of pain existed.”Paredes’s sister also spoke at the vigil and celebrated her brother’s “huge heart.””Michael had a huge heart,” Paredes’ sister Melissa Valencia said. “Big hugs for everyone, and that perfect smile that he was known for by all.”LOS ANGELES SUSPECT WHO ALLEGEDLY KILLED TWO EL MONTE POLICE OFFICERS DIED BY SUICIDE: CORONERThe killings have sparked fury at Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, as the suspect was a gang member who was on probation at the time of the shooting after he was given a plea deal by Gascon’s office for a weapons charge. 
This photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Justin William Flores who is the alleged gunman in a Southern California shootout that killed two police officers on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in El Monte, Calif. Flores was identified as the suspect by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)
(California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)”I blame the death of my son and his partner on Gascón,” Santana’s mother Olga Garcia said at a press conference last week. “Gascón will never know how I feel. Gascón will never know how he destroyed our families. He won’t know how his (Santana’s) children feel. Crime is so high in California because criminals don’t stay in jail long enough. We need to make criminals responsible for their actions. We need law and order.”
Hundreds gather at vigil remembering El Monte Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, who were killed during a shootout. 
(FOX NEWS)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPGascon is currently facing a recall effort and supporters of the movement were spotted at the vigil calling for Gascon to be recalled “now.”

Mojtaba Sadira

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