City of El Monte facilities were closed Monday to mourn fallen officers

As the community of El Monte continues to reel from a tragic double shootout that left two police officers deadall facilities in the city were to remain closed on Monday to allow time for mourning.

El Monte Town Hall and all public facilities were closed as counseling was provided to employees who were struggling to cope with the harsh reality.

Announcing the closure on Friday, City Manager Alma Martinez said, “My employees mourn the loss of two officers who were part of our El Monte family.”

“As we all deal with this tragedy, we are making counseling services available to all of our staff and providing them with the support they need. This is a time for our board, our staff and our community to s to unite, to support each other and to come closer together as we heal,” she continued.

On-site counselors working with Managed Health Network have been provided at various locations to provide bereavement counselling. These locations included:

  • Aquatic Center (8 a.m. – 11 a.m.)
  • Public Works Court (8 a.m. – 11 a.m.)
  • West Town Hall (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.)
  • East Town Hall (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Employees also received lunch on the El Monte Police Department’s outdoor patio.

The El Monte community gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the town’s civic center, where a huge memorial of flowers, candles and offerings were placed by mourners throughout the week .

“It’s unfortunate that it takes tragedy to bring the community together,” El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said at the event. “However, I am grateful that we are here to mourn the lives of these two brave men.”

Corporal Michael Paredes, 42, and Officer Joseph Santana, 31were fatally shot on Tuesday afternoon while investigating a stabbing at the Siesta Inn Motel, when they were ambushed by the suspect, Justin Flores, 35 years old.

As he left the motel, Flores was also greeted by gunfire and died at the scene.

Both officers were rushed to LAC+USC Medical Center where they later died.

Richard F. Gandhi