Embattled Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon defended his soft-on-crime policies, even as the mother of one of two police officers killed last week by a gunman on probation warned he is ‘going to destroy more families.’
Gascon, who is facing second recall efforts amid mounting criticism for his lax bail policies, blamed the spiking crime in the City of Angels on ‘the imperfect system.’
The DA insisted that his office hands the jail and probation sentences deemed appropriate, and that it’s impossible to predict whether non-violent criminals will repeat offenses and escalate to violence.
His remarks come just a week after two El Monte police officers, Joseph Anthony Santana, 31, and Michael Domingo Paredes, 42, were killed by a career criminal who was on probation for a firearm possession charge he only served 20 days in jail for.
‘We have an imperfect system,’ Gascon said at a press conference Tuesday.
‘Not only here in L.A. It’s everywhere. I know this is frustrating to hear, and it may not help heal the wounds for some. We do not serve our community when we try to pretend that we can predict 100% of the time when these cases are going to occur.’
Gascon, who is facing second recall efforts amid mounting criticism for his lax bail policies, blamed the murders of two El Monte Police Officers on ‘the imperfect system’
‘I urge everyone to ensure that we do not overreact here and that we do the things that we know that work,’ Gascon added.
Gascon reiterated that Santana and Paredes’ killer had been given the slap-on-the-wrist sentence because his past crimes were ‘non-violent,’ and he ‘pretty much stayed away from the criminal justice system’ before his role in the shootout last year.
‘We can ”if” this thing to death,’ he said.
‘There’s certainly many opportunities for a catastrophe, a tragedy, to have occurred, but the reality is that when you have the history that this individual had, the outcome was appropriate under the circumstances,’ Gascon.
It comes as the mother of 0fficer Santana, Olga Garcia, explicitly asked Gascon not to attend her son’s funeral.
‘I don’t want nothing from him. No more apologies, no more condolences. No, he’s responsible for my son’s death and [Officer Paredes’] death,’ Garcia told CBS.
It comes as the mother of 0fficer Santana, Olga Garcia, explicitly asked Gascon not to attend her son’s funeral
His remarks come just a week after two El Monte police officers, Joseph Anthony Santana (left), 31, and Michael Domingo Paredes (right), 42, were killed by a career criminal who was on probation for a firearm possession charge he only served 20 days in jail for
Santana and Paredes were both shot dead on June 14 in a motel shootout in suburban Los Angeles.
The officers were responding to a call of a stabbing at a motel in El Monte.
The shooter, gang member Justin William Flores, 35, was on probation for a prior gun charge at the time of the shooting. Flores shot himself dead during the shootout.
The illegal handgun sentence was handed to Flores in 2021, as part of a lenient plea deal made possible by lax prosecution laws from Gascon.
On Tuesday, Gascon stood by the sentence handed to Flores last year, saying his previous arrests had mostly been for non-violent offenses.
‘And then almost a decade ago, he was arrested and convicted for burglarizing his grandparents’ home for stealing a TV,’ Gascon said.
‘He then remained pretty much away from the criminal justice system until the arrest in this particular case, where he was arrested for possession of drugs for personal use and possession of a gun.’
Meanwhile, Santana’s mother has publicly decried the sentence handed to Flores and blamed his son and his partner’s killings on Gascon leniency towards repeat offenders.
‘I blame the death of my son and his partner on Gascón,’ Garcia told Spectrum1 News.
‘Gascón will never know how I feel. Gascón will never know how he destroyed our families. He won’t know how his [Santana’s] children feel.’
The officers’ shooter , gang member Justin William Flores, 35, was on probation for a prior gun charge at the time of the shooting. Flores shot himself dead during the shootout. The illegal handgun sentence was handed to Flores in 2021, as part of a lenient plea deal made possible by lax prosecution laws from Gascon
So far this year, LA has seen 162 slayings – 9 more than the same time last year. Assaults are also up nearly 5 percent from 2021, with police so far recording 8779 incidents. Robberies, meanwhile, are up my a more marked 22 percent.
During a FOX News interview, Garcia also called out Gascon, saying he has ‘insane ideas about giving criminals a slap (on) the hand.’
‘We need death row and three-strikes law to come back. We need to enforce our laws so more police officers don’t die,’ she said.
Garcia spoke of her frustration with the system and claimed that her son and his partner would still be alive and if the serial criminal killer wasn’t back out on the streets.
‘Gascon is just letting all these criminals out and they just keep doing one crime after the other,’ Garcia said, in part. ‘That guy should have been in jail.’
She added: ‘Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón gives criminals more rights than police officers.’
Gascon’s office has said hat Flores didn’t have a ‘documented history of violence’ when he was sentenced.
According to sources from the DA’s office, Flores would have likely been handed a sentence of up to three years in prison if he was prosecuted in February 2021, the news outlet reported.
‘The sentence he received in the firearm case was consistent with case resolutions and the nature of the offense,’ the statement said.
It has since been revealed that Flores possessed a lengthy rap sheet for offenses stretching back more than a decade at the time of the shooting, and had been prohibited from carrying a gun since 2011.
Last year, Flores – already on parole for pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony charge that law enforcement sources said should have sent him back to prison for a minimum of three years.
However, because of Gascon – who was sworn into office in late 2020 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration – he received the bare minimum sentence of two years probation, and 20-days jail time.
Officer Santana pictured here with his wife and three children
The plea deal also saw prosecutors drop drug charges against Flores, who was accused of possessing methamphetamine, as well as ammunition for the illegal handgun.
Flores served the 20 days in early 2021, and was out on the street by February of that year, court records reveal.
The day before the shooting, Flores was requested by his parole officer to appear in court due to a probation violation incurred after his girlfriend reported he had assaulted her last week.
Flores’ wife said her husband had previously attacked her and she warned Paredes and Santana that he had a gun inside a motel when they responded to a report of a stabbing.
Flores, however, was not taken into custody. The hearing was set for June 27, court records show.
Diana Flores said he had attacked her two days prior and she had moved into the motel to escape him but he tracked her down.
‘I am so deeply sorry, my deepest condolences for saving me, I’m so, so, so sorry,’ Diana tearfully told KCBS-TV.
‘They didn’t deserve that, or their families. They really didn’t. They were trying to help me and I told them before they went in the room, ”Don’t go in. He has a gun.”’
Asked why Flores wasn’t arrested on the violation Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Probation Department told DailyMail.com the agency was ‘currently investigating the matter further.’
The sentence is in accordance with the policies of Gascon, who has been vocal about his belief that the criminal justice system needs to focus more on intervention and rehabilitation than incarceration, blasting ‘tough on crime’ policies as racist and a failure.
He was was recently taken to task by a state appeals court over his refusal to prosecute three-strike cases, a law that seeks to impose harsher sentences on individuals who have been convicted of certain felonies three times.
The law allowed Flores – who was facing his third strike – to plead no contest and receive a light sentence despite having a previous gun strike on his criminal record.
Flores’ first strike stems from a conviction for burglarizing his grandparent’s home more than a decade ago.
Flores previously served two prison stints for burglary and car theft, and had been barred from carrying a gun since 2011.
Police and emergency responders on the scene at the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east LA at 4.45 p.m. on June 14 after the officers were shot and killed
A makeshift memorial for El Monte Police officers Corporal Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana is displayed in front of El Monte City Hall in El Monte, Calif., on Wednesday
Family members of El Monte Police Officer Michael Paredes grieve at a makeshift memorial for him and Officer Joseph Santana at El Monte City Hall on June 15
Meanwhile, law enforcement sources told NBC that the Flores was so notorious in the neighborhood, that at least one of the two slain officers would have likely recognized Flores on sight and by name.
Gascon has since been slammed as ‘radical’ and ‘soft on crime’ by conservatives and fed-up liberals for the oversight.
It comes as Gascon faces a second recall effort in less than a year to remove him from office over his controversial policies.
Last May, Gascon’s opponents organized the first, ill-fated recall effort to oust him from office.
Despite garnering more than 200,000 signatures from LA citizens in a matter of months, the campaign fell short in October, failing to amass the needed 580,000 LA County voters needed to remove Gascon.
A rash of ‘flash mob’-style robberies, assaults and shootings since the have only made matters worse for Gascon, with a second recall effort launched against the DA on Monday.
The renewed recall attempt has been spurred by the string of smash-and-grab attacks and brazens shootouts, which have seen a variety of high-end retailers in the city relentlessly ransacked and hundreds dead this year.
People are being killed in the famously progressive county at a faster pace than 2021, when homicides hit a 15-year high.
So far this year, LA has seen 162 slayings – 9 more than the same time last year.
Assaults are also up nearly 5 percent from 2021, with police so far recording 8779 incidents.
Robberies, meanwhile, are up my a more marked 22 percent.
THE ‘SOFT ON CRIME’ LA D.A.
The Los Angeles’s district attorney, George Gascon has been criticized for his liberal approach to crime.
He came to office with promises of sweeping criminal justice reforms that critics say put the interests of criminals before the safety of the community,
There have been numerous instanced where his ‘soft on crime’ approach has led to terrible consequences for the victims of crime.
Brianna Kupfer, 24, was murdered in January at a Los Angeles furniture store where she was working.
Her alleged killer Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was tracked down in Pasadena a day after the Los Angeles Police Department named him as the top suspect in the random, unprovoked slaying.
Smith – who reportedly has a rap sheet spanning two coasts – was out on bail when he allegedly stabbed Kupfer to death.
One week before the killing, Smith was arrested and charged with violent crimes in at least three states.
At the time of Kupfer’s murder, he was free on a $50,000 bond after allegedly firing a weapon toward an occupied vehicle in Charleston, South Carolina, in November 2019.
Jonathan Hatami, a veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor who has been an outspoken critic of Gascon and even sued him for retaliation last year, hit out at his boss in the wake of Kupfer’s killing,
He argued that his progressive policies are failing the community, and that he deserves to be voted out, along with other ‘woke’ DAs in cities with rising crime rates.
‘So now you have a large group of people who are out of custody, who are committing thefts, who are addicted to drugs… who are not being held accountable for their actions,’ he said. ‘And now they’re preying on innocent individuals.’
The city has also suffered a shocking wave of follow-home robberies and organized smash-and-grab attacks on retailers.
Brianna Kupfer, 24, was stabbed to death in a random attack while she was working alone in a luxury furniture store in Los Angeles. Shawn Laval Smith, 31, was out on bail at the time of the alleged attack
In another incident highlighting Gascon’s ‘soft’ policies, last month, transgender pedophile Hannah Tubbs was caught bragging about her light sentence in a juvenile facility.
Tubbs was sentenced to two years in jail for molesting a 10-year-old girl inside a restaurant bathroom.
After the top prosecutor became aware of troubling comments Tubbs made in jail – including that she wouldn’t have to register as a sex offender and that ‘nothing’ would be done to punish her – Gascon said he’s rethinking his approach.
‘It’s unfortunate that she gamed the system,’ Gascon told the Los Angeles Times. ‘If I had to do it all over again, she would be prosecuted in adult court.’
However, his critics say his apparent remorse is just a public stunt as recall efforts against him grow.
Tubbs was 17 when she committed the assault.
Tubbs also made crude and disparaging comments about the child she had abuse. She’s pictured in surveillance photos leaving the
Before she was sentenced, prosecutors had pushed for her to stay in a Los Angeles County Jail and be tried as an adult but Gascón declined to file a motion to move the case out of juvenile court, where it was filed because of Tubbs’ age at the time of offense.
The recording indicated that Tubbs also made crude and disparaging comments about the child she had abused, jokingly talking about her sexual attraction for the 10-year-old.
The DA has admitted that Tubbs may have been given too lenient of a sentence after he refused to prosecute her as an adult for the crime that she committed as a male juvenile.
However, his critics said he knew about the recordings well before they were publicly released and that he didn’t take them seriously until they started making him look bad.
The convict, who now goes by the name Hannah Tubbs, was 17 when she committed the crime. While serving time in a juvenile time, she bragged about not having to register as a sex offender
In another instance, Gascon is seeking to commute the death penalty sentence of a career criminal who kidnapped, robbed and shot ‘execution-style’ a father-of-three in 1992.
Scott Collins, 21, kidnapped and killed Rose in 1992. Collins (pictured in 2007) used Rose’s debit card to withdraw $200, shot him in the head and dumped his body in North Hollywood, where he was later found by a jogger
Scott Forrest Collins, now 51, kidnapped 41-year-old Fred Rose and held him at gunpoint as he left his work office in Palmdale for a lunch break three decades ago.
Collins used Rose’s debit card to withdraw $200, shot him in the head and dumped his body in North Hollywood, where he was later found by a jogger.
Rose died a day later at a hospital, and Collins went on to use Rose’s car to participate in a gang-related shooting before crashing and being arrested and charged with murder.
Now Gascon, a fierce opponent of the death penalty, who is also facing a second recall attempt from opponents who have criticized his soft-on-crime approach, is seeking to reduce Collins’ sentence from the death penalty to life without the possibility of parole.
Rose’s family claims they were blind-sided by Gascon’s push and accused the embattled prosecutor of ‘fighting for the murderer.’
Gascon’s office argues that Collins’ good behavior, lack of ‘serious rule violations in more than 20 years’, and the fact that his crime only had ‘one victim,’ should grant him the opportunity to avoid the death penalty.
Last month, Gascon backtracked on some of his most controversial policies, including not pursuing sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole, and not prosecuting juveniles accused of serious offenses as adults.
Gascon’s sudden change of heart comes as he faces a second recall effort organized by his critics, who contend that his woke policies are to blame for Los Angeles’ rising crime rates.
Fred Rose, 41, was robbed and killed in 1992. Now his killer might have his death penalty sentence commuted. Above, Rose with his wife and children, Julian. Amy and Heather