The man suspected of killing two California police officers was out of jail on probation for a gun charge, according to a new report.
Two El Monte police officers were killed during a shooting while responding to a domestic violence call at a motel on Tuesday afternoon. The man suspected of killing the officers is named Justin Flores, who sources tell the L.A. Times had been released from jail on probation.
“Two sources with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office identified the gunman as Flores. One said Flores was on probation for a gun possession offense at the time of the shooting and had been arrested last year for possessing a firearm and narcotics,” the Times reported.
According to the Times, in February 2021, Flores pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm as part of a plea deal that dismissed a drug charge and an ammunition charge.
The shooting took place at a motel in El Monte, a city in Los Angeles County, where both officers and the suspect accused of killing them were shot dead. The officers, one in his first year on the job and another with more than 20 years of experience, had arrived at the scene responding to a domestic violence call, according to city officials. A third officer also responded to the call and was at the shooting.
“As our officers do on a daily basis, they were acting as the first line of defense for our community members when they were essentially ambushed while trying to keep a family safe,” El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said.
The nature of the domestic violence call appeared to be a reported stabbing, and police said the two policemen “immediately took gunfire” after they arrived at the motel. The identity of the suspect has not yet been released.
According to authorities, the gun battle started in a motel room, then the suspect fled to the parking lot where more gunfire was exchanged.
“They paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their community trying to help somebody,” El Monte interim police chief Ben Lowry said. “They do what hundreds of thousands of men and women do every day across the United States. They took an oath to protect people and to serve them. These two heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice. They were murdered by a coward.”
Flores’ mother was upset that her son had been called a coward.
“It hurts to hear them say that. He was a person, too. He had a daughter,” she said. She also said her son was “loving and caring.”