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Los Angeles Times on 6/15/2022 by Richard Winton
The man who killed two El Monte police officers was on probation for illegally carrying a gun when he fired on the officers as they responded to a call for service at a motel Tuesday, court records show.
A day after Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana were shot to death, stunning many in this San Gabriel Valley suburb that has worked hard to distance itself from the violence that plagued it decades ago, a clearer picture emerged of the man who authorities say killed the officers before being shot to death himself.
Law enforcement sources identified the gunman as Justin Flores, 35. Arrested in 2020 and charged with possessing methamphetamine, a handgun and ammunition, Flores pleaded no contest in February 2021 to possessing a firearm as a felon, records show. Prosecutors dropped the other charges.
Flores, who previously served two prison terms for burglary and car theft, had been prohibited from carrying a gun since 2011.
Though the gun conviction alone could have sent him to prison for three years, Flores was instead sentenced to two years’ probation and 20 days in jail, which he’d already served, a prosecutor said at a plea hearing. Flores was ordered not to possess any weapons, including guns, ammunition and knives, a transcript of the hearing shows. He was warned that if he breached these terms, he could be sent to prison for up to three years.