EL MONTE, Calif. — Officials on Wednesday identified the two police officers who were killed in a shootout the day before while investigating a possible stabbing at a suburban Los Angeles motel. The suspect also died at the scene.
The officers were Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, the city of El Monte said in an Instagram post. They were both raised in the city where they worked.
Paredes, who is survived by his wife, daughter and son, started as a cadet in the department before becoming a full-time officer in 2000, according to a news release. He served in several specialized assignments, being appointed to the rank of corporal.
Santana had been with the El Monte force for less than a year when he was killed. He previously served as a deputy with the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department for three years, the news release stated. He worked as a part-time public works employee for El Monte for six years before turning to law enforcement. He is survived by his wife, daughter and twin sons.
The officers went to the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
Mourners on Wednesday morning left bouquets, wreaths of flowers and candles outside the El Monte police station to honor the fallen officers, whose names have not been made public.
The officers “confronted the suspect” and gunfire erupted inside a motel room, Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer said at a news conference Tuesday night. He said the gunman then fled into the parking lot where more gunfire was exchanged.
Meyer said he didn't know whether the officers were shot inside the motel or outside. They died at a hospital. The alleged gunman was shot and died at the scene.
El Monte interim Police Chief Ben Lowry called the officers heroes.
“These two men were loved," Lowry said. “They were good men. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving their community trying to help somebody."
“Today, they were murdered by a coward and we are grieving, and that hurts," he said.
El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said the officers died “while trying to keep a family safe.” Meyer said investigators were interviewing a woman from the hotel who they believe was the suspect’s girlfriend. She wasn't stabbed, he said.
Other details weren’t immediately released.
The killings came just one day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot and critically wounded during a traffic stop in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.
The 27-year-old officer was shot several times. He was in critical but stable condition at a hospital but was expected to recover, the CHP said.
A bloodhound helped police track down a suspect and Pejhmaun Iraj Khosroabadi surrendered to police Tuesday morning in a homeless encampment in the Van Nuys area of the San Fernando Valley, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
WATCH MORE ON ABC10: 2 El Monte Police Officers Shot and Killed in California: June 14 Update