The gang member accused of killing two police officers was reportedly out on probation when he committed the crimes.
Justin William Flores allegedly shot and killed two El Monte Police Department (EMPD) officers Tuesday. He was previously given two years probation for illegally possessing a gun under Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon despite Flores’ previous felony strike conviction, sources told Fox News reporter Bill Melugin. (RELATED: REPORT: Convicted Murderer Calls Left-Wing DA His ‘Champ,’ Says He’ll Tattoo Name On His Face)
“Law enforcement sources tell me Justin William Flores had a previous strike conviction in 2011 for PC 459, but that he still received the absolute bare minimum sentence for his felon in possession of a gun, charges last year in accordance [with] Gascon policies,” reported Melugin.
The DA’s office told Fox News that Flores’s sentence “was consistent with case resolutions for this type of offense given his criminal history,” reported Melugin. Gascon’s office said Flores had no previous history of violence. Flores was reportedly convicted of burglarizing his grandparents’ home in 2011.
Flores’s previous felony conviction was not considered by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office during the sentencing phase of his subsequent conviction due to Gascon’s policies against prosecuting California’s three-strikes law, reported Melugin.
“Sources in the LA DA’s office tell me if this case had been prosecuted without Gascon’s policies in Feb 2021, Flores would have likely been behind bars on a 2.5-3 year minimum sentence,” reported Melugin. “Instead, he was out on probation last night.”
EMPD released the name of the two officers, Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, in a Twitter statement Wednesday.
“Corporal Paredes and Officer Santana paid the ultimate sacrifice, while in performance of a noble profession, serving the community they loved,” the EMPD statement reads.
Both officers were raised in El Monte, California, and “had a strong connection to the community they served,” the EMPD statement said. Paredes and Santana were married with children.
It is with heavy hearts that The City of El Monte & The El Monte Police Department announce the passing of Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana. Corporal Paredes & Officer Santana were killed in the line of duty, while faithfully carrying out their sworn duties 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/wIzwjy6Iga
— El Monte PD (@elmontepolice) June 15, 2022
A California appeals court ruled June 2 that Gascon violated state law by refusing to charge three-strike cases, reported Fox News.
“On the merits, we conclude the voters and the Legislature created a duty, enforceable in mandamus, that requires prosecutors to plead prior serious or violent felony convictions to ensure the alternative sentencing scheme created by the three strikes law applies to repeat offenders,” the appeals court stated, according to Fox News. “The district attorney overstates his authority. He is an elected official who must comply with the law, not a sovereign with absolute, unreviewable discretion.”
The Daily Caller reached out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the EMPD and both declined to offer comment.