(NewsNation) —The slayings of two LA County police officers this week at the hands of a suspect who was out of custody on parole for a prior gun charge is adding fuel to the move to recall progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon.
The gunmen suspected of killing two officers Tuesday was identified as 35-year-old Justin Flores, a man with a lengthy criminal history who was on probation for a gun charge. Flores was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm per the terms of his probation.
That did not stop Flores from allegedly engaging in a shootout with police, in which he was killed along with officers Michael Paredes and Joseph Santana.
Anger over the killings has intensified as details about Flores have been released to the public. That anger is translating into calls to recall Gascon, whose policies some say have led to people such as Flores being released into the public rather than remaining behind bars.
“In this situation, of course, the incredibly tragic result is that two law enforcement officers were murdered by a person who really should not have been out of custody, should have really been in jail but for Gascon’s policies,” said recall organizer Kathy Cady.
In March 2020, Flores pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a charge that could have sent him back to prison for three years. Instead, the district attorney’s office gave him two years of probation and 20 days in jail.
The campaign to recall Gascon, which Cady co-chairs, says it has enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot to remove Gascon from his position.
Gascon’s office stood by its handling of the Flores case, telling NewsNation the sentence was “consistent with case resolutions” and adding that Flores did not have a “documented history of violence” at the time.
Progressive district attorneys like Gascon have come under increased scrutiny as crime rates rise in major cities across the U.S., which some blame on policies they say are too soft on criminals.
In San Francisco, former District Attorney Chesa Boudin was recalled by voters who said they were fed up with the city’s growing crime problem and placed the blame on Boudin’s office.