Los Angeles DA George Gascon brushes off concern from mother of slain officer: ‘We don’t have a crystal ball’

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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon on Wednesday seemingly brushed off concern when asked about the mother of one of the slain El Monte police officers who said she blamed Gascon’s policies for allowing her son’s killer to remain out of prison before the shooting. 

“This individual had no history of violence,” Gascon said of accused killer Justin William Flores during a virtual town hall discussion on Wednesday evening. When asked by Fox News Digital about mother Olga Garcia, who said Gascon should “immediately” resign over the officers’ deaths, Gascon said, “He was on bail for months and could have committed a violent act for a month – We don’t have a crystal ball.”

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference earlier this month. 

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon speaks at a press conference earlier this month.  (KCBS-TV)

Flores, a gang member, was on probation for a weapons charge after he received a lenient sentence through a plea deal. A Gascon policy allowed Flores to plead no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm and receive a light sentence despite having a strike on his criminal record already. 

Garcia is the mother of Joseph Anthony Santana, an El Monte police officer who, along with his partner Cpl. Michael Domingo Paredes, was allegedly shot and killed by Flores during a domestic call at a motel. He shot the officers when they entered the motel room.

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Flores’ wife said she had gone to the motel a day before to get away from him after he assaulted her but he followed her there. 

Flores was killed by police during a shootout in the parking lot. 

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This photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Justin William Flores who is the alleged gunman in a Southern California shootout that killed two police officers on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in El Monte, California.

This photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Justin William Flores who is the alleged gunman in a Southern California shootout that killed two police officers on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in El Monte, California. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

“I reached out to the family and offered to meet with the family to offer my condolences,” Gascon added after Fox News’ question about Garcia. “We have a victim’s unit.”

Garcia previously told Fox News: “Gascon is just letting all these criminals out and they just keep doing one crime after the other. That guy should have been in jail. If he wouldn’t have been out my son and the other officer would still be here.”

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Gascon added in Wednesday night’s virtual town hall, in which he detailed the shooting and the Los Angeles sentencing system, “We have done a great deal to reach out to the family and police department.”

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

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

He denied any policy could have “predicted or controlled this event.” 

The DA also referenced rumors that have surfaced that one of his directives would cause his office to pay for Flores’ funeral, which the office has denied. 

“Mr. Flores was not a victim… He committed a despicable crime,” Gascon said, calling the rumors “incredibly disturbing.” 

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He also spoke briefly about gun reform, pointing out that the country has “more guns than people.”  

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf contributed to this report.

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