Grieving mom of murdered LA cop blasts George Gascon woke policies

The heartbroken mother of fallen Los Angeles police officer killed earlier this week condemned Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s woke policies claiming that her son would still be alive today if suspect wasn’t back on the streets.

Olga Garcia, the mother of slain El Monte Police Officer Joseph Anthony Santana, 31, was shot dead and his partner Cpl. Michael Domingo Paredes, 42, on Tuesday afternoon in a motel shootout in suburban Los Angeles.

‘I blame the death of my son and his partner on Gascón,’ Garcia said through tears at a news conference Friday outside police headquarters, Spectrum1 News reported.

 ‘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,’ Garcia said, in part.’ 

Both officers were responding to a call of a stabbing at a motel in El Monte, California on Tuesday afternoon.

The shooter, Justin William Flores 35, a gang member was on probation for a prior gun charge at the time of the shooting. 

Flores shot himself dead during the shootout.  

The illegal handgun sentence was handed to Flores in 2021, as part of a lenient plea deal made possible by lax prosecution laws from the local DA. 

Olga Garcia, the mother of slain officer, Joseph Anthony Santana, spoke of her frustration with the system and claimed that her son and his partner would still be alive and if the serial criminal killer wasn’t back out on the streets

During a FOX News interview, Garcia called out Gascon saying he has ‘insane ideas about giving criminals a slap (on) the hand.’

 ‘We need death row and three-strikes law to come back. We need to enforce our laws so more police officers don’t die,’ she said.

Garcia spoke of her frustration with the system and claimed that her son and his partner would still be alive and if the serial criminal killer wasn’t back out on the streets.

‘Gascon is just letting all these criminals out and they just keep doing one crime after the other,’ Garcia said, in part. ‘That guy should have been in jail.’

She added: ‘Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón gives criminals more rights than police officers.’

Los Angeles DA George Gascon - who was sworn into office in late 2020 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration - he received the bare minimum sentence of two years probation, and 20 days' jail time. The plea deal also saw prosecutors drop drug charges against Flores, who was accused of possessing methamphetamine, as well as ammunition for the illegal handgun

Los Angeles DA George Gascon – who was sworn into office in late 2020 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration – he received the bare minimum sentence of two years probation, and 20 days’ jail time. The plea deal also saw prosecutors drop drug charges against Flores, who was accused of possessing methamphetamine, as well as ammunition for the illegal handgun

A photo of slain El Monte Police officer Joseph Anthony Santana, 31, and father of three, was killed when responded to a call of stabbing at a motel in a suburb in Los Angeles on Tuesday

A photo of slain El Monte Police officer Joseph Anthony Santana, 31, and father of three, was killed when responded to a call of stabbing at a motel in a suburb in Los Angeles on Tuesday

Officer Santana pictured here with his wife and three children

Officer Santana pictured here with his wife and three children 

Gascon’s office told Fox News that Flores didn’t have a ‘documented history of violence’ when he was sentenced.

According to sources from the DA’s office, Flores would have likely been handed a sentence of up to three years in prison if he was prosecuted in February 2021, the news outlet reported.  

 ‘The sentence he received in the firearm case was consistent with case resolutions for this type of offense

and the nature of the offense,’ the statement says. ‘At the time the court sentenced him, Mr. Flores did not have a documented history of violence.’

What happened next remains unclear, but a source familiar with the matter said the officers, El Monte Police Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, came under fire after knocking on a door to one of the motel’s rooms. 

El Monte Police Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana died in the shootout, which cops said occurred just after 4:30 pm local time.

It has since been revealed that Flores possessed a lengthy rap sheet for offenses stretching back more than a decade at the time of the shooting, and had been prohibited from carrying a gun since 2011.

The case has subsequently sparked outrage, with many criticizing Los Angeles’ district attorney George Gascon for woke policies that saw Flores out of jail at the time of the shooting.

The illegal handgun sentence was handed to 35 year-old Justin William Flores in 2021, as part of a lenient plea deal made possible by lax prosecution laws from the local DA

The illegal handgun sentence was handed to 35 year-old Justin William Flores in 2021, as part of a lenient plea deal made possible by lax prosecution laws from the local DA

Last year, Flores – already on parole for  pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony charge that law enforcement sources said should have sent him back to prison for a minimum of three years.

However, because of Gascon – who was sworn into office in late 2020 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration – he received the bare minimum sentence of two years probation, and 20 days’ jail time. 

The plea deal also saw prosecutors drop drug charges against Flores, who was accused of possessing methamphetamine, as well as ammunition for the illegal handgun.

Flores served the 20 days in early 2021, and was out on the street by February of that year, court records reveal.

What’s more, the day before the shooting, Flores was requested by his parole officer to appear in court due to a probation violation incurred after his girlfriend reported he had assaulted her last week,

Flores, however, was not taken into custody.

The hearing was set for June 27, court records show.   

Asked why Flores wasn’t arrested on the violation Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Probation Department told DailyMail.com the agency was ‘currently investigating the matter further.’ 

The sentence is in accordance with the policies of Gascon, who has been vocal about his belief that the criminal justice system needs to focus more on intervention and rehabilitation than incarceration, blasting ‘tough on crime’ policies as racist and a failure.

He was was recently taken to task by a state appeals court over his refusal to prosecute three-strike cases, a law that seeks to impose harsher sentences on individuals who have been convicted of certain felonies three times.

The law allowed Flores – who was facing his third strike – to plead no contest and receive a light sentence despite having a previous gun strike on his criminal record. 

Flores’ first strike stems from a conviction for burglarizing his grandparent’s home more than a decade ago. 

Sources in the district attorney’s office told Fox News that if Flores had been prosecuted prior to Gascon’s implementation of the policy in February 2021, he would likely have been hit with the full three years for the gun charge. 

Flores was killed during the confrontation with the cops, which transpired after they responded to a call of a stabbing at the Scenic Motel (pictured) in El Monte, a suburb in LA

Flores was killed during the confrontation with the cops, which transpired after they responded to a call of a stabbing at the Scenic Motel (pictured) in El Monte, a suburb in LA

When asked about the sentence Wednesday, Gascon’s office defended the decision not to hand Flores a harsher sentence.

‘The sentence he received in the firearm case was consistent with case resolutions for this type of offense given his criminal history and the nature of the offense,’ a spokesperson said in a statement.

‘At the time the court sentenced him, Mr. Flores did not have a documented history of violence.’

Flores previously served two prison stints for burglary and car theft, and had been barred from carrying a gun since 2011. 

Meanwhile, law enforcement sources told NBC that the Flores was so notorious in the neighborhood, that at least one of the two slain officers would have likely recognized Flores on sight and by name.    

Gascon has since been slammed as ‘radical’ and ‘soft on crime’ by conservatives and fed-up liberals for the oversight.

A makeshift memorial for El Monte Police officers Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana is displayed in front of El Monte City Hall in El Monte, Calif., on Wednesday

A makeshift memorial for El Monte Police officers Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana is displayed in front of El Monte City Hall in El Monte, Calif., on Wednesday

Republican Senator Ted Cruz slammed Gascon, tweeting: ‘Officers Paredes and Santana gave their lives in the service of their fellow citizens. It is outrageous the murderer was not in jail due to the reckless actions of George Gascon, a radical, soft-on-crime, Soros-backed DA.’

Lawyer Kurt Schlichter tweeted: ‘Gascon flat out murdered those guys.’  

In response to Gascon tweeting his ‘heartfelt condolences’ to the families of the murdered officers, a Twitter user wrote: ‘Your condolences won’t bring back the lives you’re responsible for losing, nor will your condolences cover the payout these families will surely get from LA County. We, the tax payers, will be paying for that.’

One user tweeted: ‘If I were you I would save this tweet as a template so you could just edit the police department name if you’re going to keep dumping into our society these dangerous criminals. Sending condolences is part of the failure of your administration.’ 

Another tweeted: ‘The killer was on probation after a plea deal with you for felon with a firearm. He went on to do this.’ 

It comes as Gascon faces a second recall effort in less than a year to remove him from office over his controversial policies.

Last May, Gascon’s opponents organized the first, ill-fated recall effort to oust him from office.

Despite garnering more than 200,000 signatures from LA citizens in a matter of months, the campaign fell short in October, failing to amass the needed 580,000 LA County voters needed to remove Gascon.

A rash of ‘flash mob’-style robberies, assaults and shootings since the have only made matters worse for Gascon, with a second recall effort launched against the DA on Monday.

The renewed recall attempt has been spurred by the string of smash-and-grab attacks and brazens shootouts, which have seen a variety of high-end retailers in the city relentlessly ransacked and hundreds dead this year. 

People are being killed in the famously progressive county at a faster pace than 2021, when homicides hit a 15-year high. 

So far this year, LA has seen 162 slayings – 9 more than the same time last year.

Assaults are also up nearly 5 percent from 2021, with police so far recording 8779 incidents.

Robberies, meanwhile, are up my a more marked 22 percent. 

The case has sparked outrage, with many criticizing DA Gascon for being soft on criminals with his woke policies - and those policies meant Flores was not in jail at the time of the shooting

The case has sparked outrage, with many criticizing DA Gascon for being soft on criminals with his woke policies – and those policies meant Flores was not in jail at the time of the shooting

Flores’ wife said her husband had previously attacked her and she warned Paredes and Santana that he had a gun inside a motel when they responded to a report of a stabbing. 

Diana Flores said he had attacked her two days ago and she had moved into the motel to escape him but he tracked her down. 

‘I am so deeply sorry, my deepest condolences for saving me, I’m so, so, so sorry,’ Diana tearfully told KCBS-TV. ‘They didn’t deserve that, or their families. They really didn’t. They were trying to help me and I told them before they went in the room, ‘Don’t go in. He has a gun.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that flags at the state Capitol will be flown at half-staff in their honor. 

Paredes and Santana – one on the force for more than two decades and the other for just months – were both were raised in and worked for the city of El Monte, a suburb of 107,000 people in the San Gabriel Valley. 

They became only the third and fourth officers in the El Monte Police Department’s history to die in the line of duty. A vigil is scheduled for Saturday.

Mourners on Wednesday left bouquets, wreaths of flowers and candles outside the El Monte police station to honor the fallen officers.

Family members of El Monte Police Officer Michael Paredes grieve at a makeshift memorial for him and Officer Joseph Santana at El Monte City Hall and police station on Wednesday

Family members of El Monte Police Officer Michael Paredes grieve at a makeshift memorial for him and Officer Joseph Santana at El Monte City Hall and police station on Wednesday

Family members of El Monte Police Officer Michael Paredes grieve at a makeshift memorial for him and Officer Joseph Santana at El Monte City Hall on Wednesday

Family members of El Monte Police Officer Michael Paredes grieve at a makeshift memorial for him and Officer Joseph Santana at El Monte City Hall on Wednesday

A woman touches a picture of officer Joseph Santana at a makeshift memorial outside the El Monte City Hall and police station on Wednesday

A woman touches a picture of officer Joseph Santana at a makeshift memorial outside the El Monte City Hall and police station on Wednesday

The county’s probation department declined to comment and Flores’ attorney in the case did not return a request for comment on Wednesday. But the Los Angeles Times reported that Flores had violated his probation, triggering the return to court.

Few details have emerged about what occurred during Tuesday’s violence. The officers went to the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, for a welfare check where a woman had possibly been stabbed.

The officers ‘confronted the suspect,’ Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer said Tuesday.

Gunfire erupted inside a motel room and the gunman then fled into the parking lot, where more gunfire was exchanged, Meyer said.

Meyer said he didn’t know whether the officers were shot inside the motel or outside. They died at a hospital. A gun was found at the scene.

Meyer said investigators were interviewing a woman from the hotel who they believe was the suspect’s girlfriend. Diana Flores, who described herself as the suspect’s wife and had his first name tattooed on her chest, told KCBS that officers must have been reacting to a ‘false call’ because she hadn’t been stabbed on Tuesday.

‘I got stabbed the day before that,’ she told the TV station.

The incident will likely see more criticism directed at Gascon, who is currently facing a recall over his policies. On Wednesday, the recall campaign said they had collected the number of signatures needed to proceed with a vote to move forward with the recall. 

Police and emergency responders on the scene at the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east LA at 4.45pm yesterday after two cops were shot and killed

Police and emergency responders on the scene at the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east LA at 4.45pm yesterday after two cops were shot and killed

Paredes started as a cadet in the department before becoming a full-time officer in 2000, according to a news release. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

Santana had been with the El Monte force for less than a year when he was killed. He previously served as a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for three years, the news release stated.

This tragic loss hits close to home for us,’ the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter. ‘He was a great partner and loved by all who knew him.’

Santana also worked as a part-time public works employee for El Monte for six years before turning to law enforcement. He is survived by his wife, daughter and twin sons.

El Monte interim Police Chief Ben Lowry on Tuesday called the officers heroes.

‘These two men were loved,’ Lowry said. ‘They were good men. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving their community trying to help somebody.’

‘They were murdered by a coward and we are grieving, and that hurts,’ he said.

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said the officers died ‘while trying to keep a family safe.’

The killings came just one day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot and critically wounded during a traffic stop in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.

The 27-year-old officer is expected to recover, authorities said. A bloodhound helped police track down the suspect, who surrendered to police Tuesday in a homeless encampment in the San Fernando Valley.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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