El Monte

‘They Were Trying to Help Me': Wife of Man Accused of Killing 2 Officers Apologizes

“I love my husband to death but like I said, this wasn’t my husband. This was a monster," Diana Flores said

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The wife of a man accused of killing two El Monte police officers who responded to a motel after the man's wife said she was being abused was speaking out for the first time, apologizing for her late husband.

Diana Flores identified her husband as Justin Flores. Family members have told NBCLA that he was a construction worker.

"I am so deeply sorry. My deepest condolences for saving me. I’m so, so sorry. They didn’t deserve that, or their families. They really didn’t. They were trying to help me and I told them before they went in the room, 'don’t go in, he has a gun.' And they still went in," she said. "I didn’t want anyone to get hurt in this. The only person getting hurt was me and now two other innocents."

Flores said her late husband was abusing her, and alleged he had stabbed her days before the June 14 encounter with police.

Investigators say Officer Joseph Santana and Cpl. Michael Paredes were gunned down when they came to the Siesta Inn Motel in El Monte Tuesday to help a domestic violence victim.

But Flores claims she had called police the day before that, after her husband attacked her.

"I didn’t get stabbed yesterday, I got stabbed the day before yesterday that," she said.

City of El Monte
The city of El Monte announced Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana were killed in the line of duty.

At this point, it is unclear why officers came out the day after the stabbing.

Flores said she was staying at the motel to get away from her husband after she was stabbed Monday, but he found and confronted her Tuesday. Shortly after, police arrived.

"I was finally able to get up and open the door and run out the door where he was getting his shoes on and then, they went in and I just heard gunshots," she said. "And I just ran the opposite way, away from here.”

Paramedics rushed both police officers to LAC+USC Medical Center where they died of their injuries.

The suspect was shot and killed outside the motel.

Flores came back to that scene Wednesday after emptying her motel room and leaving the property.

She said her late husband was "not in his right state of mind at all."

The investigation entered its 13th hour around 6 a.m. Wednesday, as police try to figure out what led to the shooting that killed two El Monte officers. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

“I love my husband to death but like I said, this wasn’t my husband. This was a monster," Flores said.

Flores said her husband Justin changed within the last year

Outside the El Monte police headquarters, a memorial grew overnight as people dropped off flowers, candles and messages of support.

Santana had just joined the El Monte police force after serving with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for three years, and had been out patrolling in El Monte for less than a year.

Santana is survived by his wife, daughter and twin boys, the city of El Monte said in a statement posted to Instagram and Facebook.

The other officer, Paredes, was a veteran of the department, dedicating 22 years of his life to law enforcement with the El Monte Police Department.

He is survived by his wife, daughter and son, the city of El Monte said.

The El Monte Police Department and The El Monte Police Officers Association created an official donation page. The department noted this is the only official donation site set up by the agency. The donations go directly to the families of the fallen officers. You can find it here.

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