Gascón accused of paying for funeral of alleged killer of 2 El Monte police officers, DA responds

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is accused by some of pledging to cover the funeral expenses of the alleged killer of the two El Monte police officers.

During Friday's press conference and community tribute event, Olga Garcia – the mother of one of the two slain El Monte officers Joseph Santana – was among the people who heard about the allegation against Gascón.

"Yesterday, I was slapped in the face when I was told that Gascón is going to pay for the criminal's funeral," Garcia said Friday.

Hours before Garcia made that claim, Gascón issued the following statement online denying the rumor: 

"There have been rumors surfacing today that the DA’s office will pay for the funeral services for the person responsible for the murders of two El Monte officers. Those rumors are unfounded and incredibly disrespectful to the families and colleagues of the two fallen officers. We also hope people will stop playing politics with trauma and that we can all get serious about how we prevent serious violence before it begins. We will be working with anyone who is willing to solve these problems."

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Following Tuesday's news of the deadly El Monte shooting, Gascón received blame from some for letting the alleged gunman Justin Flores – a man with an extensive criminal record dating back to 2010 – end up back on the streets and not behind bars. Flores, 35, was offered a plea deal by Gascón's office in 2021. 

Flores, who officials say is a known gang member, received the bare minimum sentence with no jail time and was placed on probation.

"This individual should have been in custody for at least 32 months," said LA County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami earlier in the week.

Garcia echoed Hatami's sentiment, saying Tuesday's deadly shooting could have been prevented.

"Gascón is just letting all these criminals out and they just keep doing one crime after the other," Garcia said Thursday. "That guy should have been in jail… my son and the other officer would still be here."

"I blame the deaths of my son and his partner on Gascón. Gascón will never know how I feel. Gascón will never know how he destroyed our family," Garcia said Friday.