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2 El Monte police officers shot and killed while investigating a reported stabbing

Investigation continues after two El Monte officers shot and killed while investigating reports of a
Investigation continues after two El Monte officers shot and killed while investigating reports of a 02:18

Two police officers were shot and killed in El Monte Tuesday night.

"Men and women the El Monte Police Department as well as the community of El Monte is grieving," said Interim El Monte Police Chief Ben Lowry. "I've heard that the only way to take the sting out of death is to take the love out of life. Believe me, they were loved. These two men were loved. They were good men."

It happened at about 4:45 p.m. on the corner of Garvey Avenue and Central Avenue in El Monte. According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, law enforcement transported the two officers to a hospital in unknown conditions. They died later that evening according to the City of El Monte. 

El Monte Police Department said that one of the officers was a 22-year veteran, while the other was with the department for less than a year. They were identified Wednesday as Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said that the veteran officer grew up and attended the school in the city.

"They paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their community trying to help somebody," Lowry added. "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."

"We are grieving and it hurts," Lowry said.

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City officials said the two officers were investigating a possible stabbing at the Siesta Inn. Officials said that it began as a domestic violence report between a boyfriend and girlfriend.

According to the department, the shootout began in a motel room, where the officers were ambushed. The suspect then fled into the parking lot of the motel before another shootout with police occurred.

"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," said Ancona. 

A witness, Arthur Kingsbury, said that he heard five gunshots before additional officers arrived at the scene. He added that two additional officers later arrived and also came under fire. The officers scrambled for cover.

"I saw the suspect was on the ground," Kingsbury said. "I already knew considering he was laying there motionless he was deceased."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said the suspect was fatally shot and died at the scene. The suspect was identified by family as 35-year-old Justin Flores.

Witness recounts scene where two El Monte police officers were shot to death 02:36

A large-scale investigation was underway Wednesday morning. Video from Sky2 showed dozens of evidence markers littering the parking lot of the motel. The suspect's body, covered in a sheet remained at the scene until around 9 a.m. when he it was removed by the coroner's office. 

Garvey Avenue was closed in the surrounding area as the investigation continued. As a result, multiple businesses in the area were forced to close their doors for the day. 

A stabbing victim was not found at the scene and more than a dozen investigators were working through the night to conduct interviews and to examine surveillance footage from the motel.

Investigators reportedly recovered the firearm following the incident.

In the aftermath of the tragic incident, the El Monte community came together to walk with law enforcement in a lengthy procession from the hospital to Los Angeles Coroner's Office, also leaving flowers at a growing memorial outside of the department's headquarters.

This latest shooting comes a day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot in Studio City. He is in critical but stable condition.

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