Widow of slain police officer files $25M lawsuit against Los Angeles County D.A.

A photo of Corporal Michael Paredes is seen outside the El Monte Police Department on June 15, 2022, a day after he was shot and killed while responding to a reported stabbing with a fellow officer. (KTLA)

EL MONTE, Calif. (KTLA) — The widow of a slain El Monte police sergeant has filed a $25 million legal claim against the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office alleging that the man who killed her husband should have been behind bars.

Sgt. Michael Paredes, 42, and officer Joseph Santana, 31 were fatally shot while responding to a stabbing investigation at a motel in June.

The gunman, 35-year-old Justin William Flores was also killed during the ordeal, but medical examiner’s records later showed he died of a gunshot wound to the head and the death was ruled a suicide.

Flores had a prior conviction for burglarizing his grandparents’ home and stealing a television and was on probation for a gun charge.

While the officers’ families had attributed Flores being out of jail to District Attorney George Gascón’s policies, the top prosecutor indicated that Flores was addicted to drugs and had no history of violence before the fatal encounter.

On Tuesday, Paredes’ widow, Janine Paredes, said it is the DA’s responsibility to make sure he is following the law.

“Unfortunately in this situation, and in many situations, this is not being done. The law is not being followed by our district attorney and making sure that the California three-strikes law is being put into play.”

Paredes is also suing L.A. County’s probation department.

In a statement, the DA’s Office said they couldn’t comment on the claim.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Sgt. Paredes. His tragic murder is a devastating loss to both his family, friends and the community he bravely served. We have nothing but empathy for those who are suffering,” the statement read. “We were not informed that Sgt. Paredes’s widow intended to file a lawsuit against our office. We have not reviewed the legal documents and cannot comment at this time. Again our heart goes out to the victims of this horrific tragedy.”

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