Joseph Santana

At approximately 4:45pm on June 14, 2022, two officers from the El Monte Police Department responded to a call for a welfare check and possible stabbing at the Siesta Inn in the city of El Monte. Authorities reported the officers confronted the suspect and gunfire erupted inside a motel room. The gunman then fled into the motel parking lot, where more gunfire was exchanged. The gunman was shot and died at the scene and a gun was found.

 

The two officers were transported to the hospital but, tragically, neither officer survived.

 

Corporal Michael Paredes, age 42 and a 22-year veteran of El Monte PD, is survived by his wife, daughter, and son.

 

Officer Joseph Santana, age 31, had been with El Monte PD for less than a year having served previously as a Deputy with the San Bernardino Co. Sheriff’s Department for three years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and twin sons.

Michael Paredes

At approximately 4:45pm on June 14, 2022, two officers from the El Monte Police Department responded to a call for a welfare check and possible stabbing at the Siesta Inn in the city of El Monte. Authorities reported the officers confronted the suspect and gunfire erupted inside a motel room. The gunman then fled into the motel parking lot, where more gunfire was exchanged. The gunman was shot and died at the scene and a gun was found.

 

The two officers were transported to the hospital but, tragically, neither officer survived.

 

Corporal Michael Paredes, age 42 and a 22-year veteran of El Monte PD, is survived by his wife, daughter, and son.

 

Officer Joseph Santana, age 31, had been with El Monte PD for less than a year having served previously as a Deputy with the San Bernardino Co. Sheriff’s Department for three years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and twin sons.

Tyler Ryan Lenehan

On the morning of January 21, 2022, at 0514 hours, the California Highway Patrol received a call of a wrong-way driver on Highway 99 near 47th Avenue in Sacramento. The calls indicated the driver was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 99. The CHP’s South Sacramento Division was in response.

At approximately 0515 hours, Officer Ty Lenehan of the Elk Grove Police Department was riding his department-issued fully marked Elk Grove Police motorcycle in the number 1 lane of southbound Highway 99 near 12th Avenue. The roadway has a small crest and slight curve near the pedestrian bridge at 12th Avenue. Officer Lenehan was struck head-on by a late model Dodge Challenger and ejected more than 100 feet from his motorcycle. Another motor officer from another jurisdiction arrived at the collision site within 30 seconds and began lifesaving efforts on Officer Lenehan. Emergency responders from the CHP and Sacramento Metro Fire arrived expeditiously and continued lifesaving efforts, but tragically were unable to revive Officer Lenehan.

The driver of the Dodge Challenger attempted to flee the scene on foot but was apprehended by CHP officers when he was spotted hiding behind the concrete center divider.  The driver was found to be under the influence of alcohol and depressants. His preliminary BAC was .15 at the scene. He was on California DUI Probation from a previous DUI in 2017. He was arrested and booked on charges of vehicular homicide and DUI.

Officer Tyler Ryan Lenehan, age 44, was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the Elk Grove Police Department for six years. He previously served with the Citrus Heights Police Department for four years and the Galt Police Department for two years.  He is survived by his wife and two children, as well as his parents and siblings. 

Valentin Martinez

Born in San Luis de Custique in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, Val Martinez was an energetic child who loved playing with marbles, toy cars, and wooden tops. His mother immigrated to the United States when he was young, moving first to Watsonville and then settling in Delano, where his mother remains today. Val attended various public school before graduating from Delano High School. He then went on to study criminal justice in college and applied to be a law enforcement officer shortly after becoming a US citizen.

Val was initially hired as a correctional officer in Salinas, before being accepted as a LAPD officer. He was sworn in on April 30, 2007, and spent all 13 years of his career in the San Fernando Valley, first as a probationary officer in Reseda, then as a full-time officer in Mission Hills. In March 2013, he received a life-saving medal for providing care for a passenger who was having a medical emergency. He received over 70 commendations, including one from a young man he arrested.

After joining the Los Angeles Police Department, he met and fell in love with fellow officer Megan Flynn. It took only two hours for them to realize that they would be more than partners at work. Together they traveled, finding new adventures in cities across the country.

While not serving his community as a police officer, he volunteered with his church Real Life in Valencia building homes in Ensenada. His church and his faith played a large role in Val’s work as an officer. He was baptized a second time as an adult and looked forward to raising his children with the same faith his mother instilled him.

Val often credited his faith for teaching him to always find common ground with other people, whether that be a victim, an arrestee, or a civilian. He had a knack for finding a way to comfort people while treating them with respect and dignity. Val often found himself helping out the “lost sheep” who just needed a bit of extra care.

Police Officer Valentin Martinez passed away July 24, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19. He is survived by his domestic partner Megan and their twin sons who were born shortly after his death; his mother Maria; his father Ricardo, Sr.; brothers Ricardo, Navor, and Juan; and sister Diana Martinez.

Val will be remembered for his love of his mother’s cooking and obsession with the Boston Red Sox, but even more so for his easy-going sense of humor. He really was one of the good ones.

Armando Cantu

Armando Cantu, known fondly as Mando and Junior to close friends and family, was born in San Diego, California, before moving to Texas as a child. As everyone who knew him would attest, his Texas pride was incomparable. After graduating from Conroe High school in 1997, Armando enlisted in the United States Marines Corps.

 

Armando served in the Marine Corps for eight years, including a tour in Iraq during Operation Iraq Freedom. He trained at Ft. Lenard Wood and was stationed in Twentynine Palms. Armando remained dedicated to his fellow veterans. In February of 1999, Armando married the love of his life Beta Ka’Shaun. They first met in seventh grade and were inseparable ever since.

 

In 2001, Armando’s life was forever changed when he gave his life to Jesus Christ. Armando answered the call of ministry and faithfully served in various auxiliary ministries within the church community. Armando became a member of The True Vine Fellowship Ministries in 2001, where he served on the board of trustees, volunteering with the men’s Higher Life outreach program and as an active parent volunteer for the youth department, and mentoring fellow veterans in the Armor of God program. In 2007, he was ordained as an Elder. Armando truly loved spreading the gospel and actively found ways to help his fellow veterans follow in his faith.

Armando joined the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on April 21, 2007. Upon graduating with the 168th Academy Class, Armando was assigned to the West Valley Detention Center and the Central Detention Center. In 2008, Armando was assigned to the Morongo Basin Station and spent time on patrol and as a juvenile deputy. The Morongo Basin Station is a tight-knit community and working as a deputy there meant joining the family. And Armando stepped up to the challenge to serve with his brothers and sisters of the Sheriff’s Department.

Attending classes while working as a Deputy, he graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in Criminal Justice. Then in 2018, Armando was promoted to Detective and assigned to Yucaipa Station. In 2019, he was assigned to the Narcotics Division where he worked in the DEA Task Force and on the Marijuana Suppression Team.

On November 18, 2021, Detective Armando Cantu passed away from a work-related illness. Armando leaves behind his wife Ka’Shaun, son Samuel, parents Armando and Debra, brother Daniel, and his True Vine Fellowship Ministries church family.

Jorge David Alvarado

At approximately10:41pm, on Friday, February 25, 2022, Salinas Police Officer Jorge David Alvarado conducted a traffic stop in the area of Market and Griffin Streets. During the stop, a subject opened fire on Officer Alvarado and he was fatally shot. Officer Alvarado’s heroic action during the confrontation directly led to the arrest of the suspect. Salinas Chief of Police Robert Filice stated, “The officer stayed in the fight all the way to the end. Ultimately, he paid the price for it. He gave his life for it. But thanks to his actions, we were able to apprehend the suspect, and we currently have him in custody.

Officer Jorge David Alvarado, age 30, was a five-year veteran of the Salinas Police Department and a U.S. Army veteran. He had previously served with the Colma Police Department for four years. He is survived by his fiancee and his mother.

 

Nicholas Vella

At approximately 6:30pm on Saturday, February 19, 2022, Huntington Beach PD’s helicopter “HB1” was responding to a disturbance call in Newport Beach when it crashed into the waters off the southeast end of Lido Peninsula. The Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Anaheim Police Department dispatched their helicopters to assist with the rescue effort, according to aircraft tracker ADS-B Exchange.

Despite all heroic rescue efforts, Officer Nicholas Vella died of injuries sustained in the crash. A second officer, a 16-year veteran, was transported to a hospital where he was listed in stable condition before being released the following day.

Officer Vella, age 44 and a 14-year veteran of the Huntington Beach PD, is survived by his wife and daughter.

Elmer Jonathan Diaz

On November 2, 2019, Lemoore Police Officer Jonathan Diaz was shot and killed while intervening in a domestic violence incident. He was attending a birthday party at a home on Eddy Street, near Carolyn Avenue, in Hanford when another partygoer was violently assaulted by her boyfriend. Officer Diaz was able to move the woman outside to safety and then returned into the home to de-escalate the incident. As Officer Diaz re-entered the home the man opened fire, killing Officer Diaz and wounding his own father. The subject then killed himself.

Officer Diaz was a three year veteran of the Lemoore Police Department and had previously served with the Huron Police Department for three years. He is survived by three children, his parents, and three siblings.

Toshio Hirai

On November 14, 2018, at approximately 7:30am, Gardena Police Officer Toshio Hirai was was en route to the station on his department motorcycle when he was struck by a car at the intersection of Western Avenue and 238th Street, in Harbor City. The other driver was a 17-year-old girl who stopped at the scene and cooperated with investigators. She was licensed and neither drugs nor alcohol were suspected as factors in the crash. 

Officer Hirai was transported to the hospital with critical injuries and, tragically, he passed the following day.

Officer Hirai, age 34, was a 12 year veteran of the Gardena Police Department. He is survived by his wife and 2-year-old son.

Harminder Grewal

At approximately 4:35am on Sunday, August 22, 2021, Galt Police Officers Harminder Grewal and Kapri Herrera were traveling northbound on Highway 99 on their way to assist with the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County. Just north of Dillard Road in Sacramento County, a Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling southbound on Highway 99 hit the center median, broke through a barrier and entered the northbound lanes, striking the officers’ patrol vehicle head-on. Both officers had to be extricated from the vehicle and were transported to the hospital in critical condition. The pickup driver was pronounced deceased at the scene by fire personnel. Two other passengers in the pickup, both 26-year-old men, were hospitalized with injuries described as moderate. The CHP said it was not known whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision.

 

Tragically, Officer Grewal’s injuries were not survivable and he passed away on Thursday, August 26th. Officer Herrera was most recently listed in critical, but stable condition.

 

Officer Grewal was a 2½ year veteran of the Galt Police Department. He is survived by his parents, brother, and a countless number of family, friends, and loved ones.