The suspect who shot two policemen Tuesday at a motel outside Los Angeles was on probation for illegally possessing a gun and has been banned from packing heat since 2011.
Justin Flores, 35, allegedly killed El Monte Police Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana and he were killed in gunfire when officers responded to reports of stabbings.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Flores had served two prison sentences for burglary and car theft and pleaded no contest to possessing a firearm as a felon last winter.
The career convict could have been sent back to prison for three years on the weapons charge, but was instead sentenced to two years’ probation and 20 days, the newspaper said.
According to the report, a day before the shooting, Flores’ probation officer filed for a revocation hearing last week after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, violating her probation.
Before the June 27 hearing, Flores was allowed to live on the streets instead of being arrested and jailed.
The outlet said the Los Angeles County Probation Department was “currently investigating” why Flores was not taken in for the violation.
Parades and Santana reportedly came under fire after knocking on the door of a room at the Siesta Inn on Tuesday afternoon.
A shootout with Flores began in the room and ended in the parking lot with the deaths of all three people, officials told the newspaper.
“We don’t have all the facts yet,” El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona reportedly said Tuesday night, adding the officers were “essentially ambushed.”
The officers were natives of the San Gabriel Valley city of 110,000 and were remembered by Ancona as hometown heroes.
“He grew up here; To us, they are El Monte Desi,” said Ancona. “They are our boys.”
“He was a good man,” the acting chief of the El Monte Police Department, Captain Ben Lowry, told the newspaper. “These two heroes made the ultimate sacrifice today. He was murdered by a coward.”
Santana, 31, is survived by his wife, daughter and twin boys.
A 22-year-old veteran, 42-year-old Parades leaves behind wife, daughter and son.
A police station memorial decorated with candles, flowers, American flags and “thank you” signs was filled by residents of the community.
The Times reported that only two members of the department had died in the line of duty before Tuesday.