Slain El Monte police officer posthumously promoted to sergeant

One of the El Monte police officers killed in the line of duty during a shootout with a suspect last week is receiving a posthumous promotion. 

Corporal Michael Paredes was promoted to the rank of Police Sergeant, the police department announced.

In a statement, officials said Paredes was on duty in the capacity of Acting Sergeant, and that it was fitting to promote Paredes to "the rank he last served as."

"Mike had always displayed excellent character, right down to his last moments on this earth. Mike was competent and had proven to be proficient in all the administrative functions that are required of a sergeant. Mike had the respect of all of us who worked with him.  From this point forward, he will be remembered as Sergeant Michael Paredes."

Paredes started his law enforcement career as a cadet with the El Monte Police Department before he was sworn in as a full-time police officer in July 2000. He worked several specialized assignments before being appointed to Corporal and posthumously to Sergeant. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.

Paredes’ sister, Melissa Valencia, said her brother gave big hugs and always had a wide smile. She urged his children to find inspiration in his public service.

"Choose your path in life, choose leadership and choose to be the change this community needs, just like Michael did," Valencia said during a vigil held for the two officers over the weekend.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California established a fundraising campaign on behalf of the officers’ families.

Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana were both were raised in and worked for the city of El Monte. They became only the third and fourth officers in the El Monte Police Department’s history to die in the line of duty. A vigil was held for the two officers over the weekend.

The officers were sent to the motel to investigate a report that a woman had possibly been stabbed.

Sheriff’s homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer has said that the officers confronted the suspect and gunfire erupted inside the motel room. The gunman ran outside and more gunfire was exchanged with other officers.

Flores was on probation for a gun charge at the time of the shooting, which occurred a day after his probation officer requested that he return to court later in the month, court records show.