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Widow of slain El Monte police sergeant files $25M claim against LA County district attorney

The widow of a slain El Monte police officer has filed a $25 million claim against George Gascon, his office, and the county. When El Monte police officers Micheal Paredes and Joseph Santana were shot and killed in June, it was clear who the killer was, Dustin William Flores a convicted felon out on probation was killed a short time later in a gunfight with police. Santana, 31, and Paredes, 42, were fatally shot on June 14 outside a suburban motel.

But the family of one of the two slain officers said the officer's death was also caused by this man.

Janine Paredes lost her husband in the ambush. She has filed a $25 million lawsuit against Los Angeles county district attorney George Gascon saying Flores should have been behind bars at the time of the shooting. That he had at least 19 criminal cases against him in 16 years including a firearm and drug arrest last year that could have landed him in prison for nearly three years under California's three strikes law.

But under Gascon, he was given probation.

"A man like Michael deserved better," said Janine Paredes during a press conference on Tuesday. "He deserved to be protected by policies and directives of the district attorney who had a legal obligation to ensure the safety not only of the public but the people who serve the public. It's time that Gascón is held responsible and accountable."

The district attorney's office said "Our hearts go out to the family of Sgt. Paredes," the statement read. "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. 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."

Santana and Paredes were memorialized at El Monte's civic center by city residents, community leaders, family members and fellow police officers following their deaths.


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