LOS ANGELES — Herbert Nixon Flores, a 46-year-old criminal alien with an extensive criminal history, is the prime suspect in the murder of 35-year-old Karen Ruiz in the Pacoima area, Jan. 6. Flores shot and killed himself according to law enforcement officials days later. Flores, a repeat immigration offender, had been sought by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers for removal, but a detainer issued to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) last Fall was not honored due to California’s dangerous sanctuary policy.“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 ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Los Angeles Acting Field Office Director Andre Quinones. “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 who have no authority to be in our country.”
Flores was an illegally present Salvadoran national with a criminal history and convictions spanning more than 30 years. Since 1990, he had been ordered removed and physically deported from the United States 10 times. His criminal history included carrying a concealed weapon, trespassing, burglary, disturbing the peace, possession and transportation of a controlled substance, impersonation, driving under the influence, driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest, vandalism, criminal threats and illegal entry.
On Sept. 7, Flores was arrested for a domestic violence with injury charge by the LAPD. The next day, ICE lodged an immigration detainer with the LAPD which chose to not honor the detainer and instead released Flores 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.”
In accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), illegal re-entry after removal is a federal criminal charge, and violators are subject to imprisonment if convicted. A person who is ordered removed, is physically removed, and thereafter illegally reenters, can be subject to reinstatement of the previous removal order.
In fiscal year 2020, ICE continued to focus its enforcement efforts and resources on aliens who pose a threat to public safety and national security. ICE’s ERO conducted 103,603 arrests – approximately 90% of those arrested had a criminal conviction or charge including 1,837 homicide offenses, 37,247 assault offenses and 10,302 sexual assault or sex offenses.