U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is blaming California's sanctuary policies after a repeat criminal offender became the prime suspect in the murder investigation of a 35-year-old California woman.
Herbert Nixon Flores, a 46-year-old criminal alien from El Salvador, is the prime suspect in the murder of Karen Ruiz, who was shot and killed in front of the couple's three-year-old daughter. Just days after the Jan. 6 murder, Flores shot and killed himself, according to law enforcement officials.
"We offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Karen Ruiz, who was senselessly killed last week near her 3-year-old daughter," said Andre Quinones, ICE’s acting field office director of the Los Angeles Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). "Like so many other tragedies, this case illustrates the threat posed by the egregious and often recidivist criminal offenders our agency identifies, targets, and seeks to apprehend and remove, and is another example of how California’s sanctuary policies lead to violence against innocent victims while protecting illegal aliens."
According to ICE, Flores had an extensive criminal background with convictions spanning more than three decades. The criminal alien had been ordered removed and physically deported from the U.S. ten times previously, following convictions for burglary, trespassing, driving under the influence, vandalism, making criminal threats, and illegal reentry, among others.
ICE lodged an immigration detainer against Flores following his arrest for a domestic violence incident on Sept. 7. But according to ICE, the LAPD ignored the detainer and Flores was released back into the community.
"This horrific act of violence that has now claimed two lives and left a child without her mother might have been avoided if the suspect had been handed over to our officers months ago," said Quinones.
"Cases like this demonstrate how critical it is for state and federal law enforcement agencies to work together and focus all available resources against those who break the law. As such, ICE will continue to seek proactive and effective ways to work with law enforcement partners in our shared commitment to public safety."
ICE's ERO conducted 103,603 arrests during fiscal year 2020, and approximately 90 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions or charges, including 1,837 homicide offenses, 37,247 assault offenses, and 10,302 sex offenses and sex assaults.