The family of 35-year-old Karen Ruiz, who authorities say was killed by her ex-boyfriend in front of her 3-year-old daughter in Pacoima, is heartbroken and outraged by the woman’s death.

They say that the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6 could have been prevented if Herbert Nixon Flores, who allegedly committed the slaying, had not been released after being arrested for domestic abuse.

According to Ruiz’s family, Flores, 46, had severely beaten Ruiz in August, and in September he had been arrested. However, the man was released on bail, just days after the arrest.

“We had texts, calls, and messages saying that he was going to kill her,” said a relative.

In addition to the domestic abuse report, Flores had an extensive criminal record that included theft, illegal possession of weapons, transportation of controlled substances, and identity forgery, and he was an undocumented immigrant, according to an ICE statement.

In the statement, ICE blamed sanctuary laws and said the Los Angeles Police Department did not turn him over to immigration for deportation.

“Flores was a Salvadoran citizen illegally present in the country with a criminal record and sentences spanning 30 years. Since 1990 he has been deported from the United States 10 times.”

Police Chief Michel Moore ensured that the department acted under the stipulated state regulations and added, “I would ask ICE why, if this individual was in the community, they had not yet deported him?”

Ruiz’s family said regardless, she paid with her life, leaving a 3-year-old daughter without her parents.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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