El Monte Police Chief Ben Lowry dies at 45 of unspecified ‘health issues’

A police chief with a black ribbon over his badge
El Monte Police Chief Ben Lowry attends a June 30 memorial service for Sgt. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, who were fatally shot on duty.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

El Monte Police Chief Ben Lowry died Monday of unspecified “health issues,” department officials said. He was 45.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lowry family during this difficult time,” acting Chief Jake Fisher said in a release. “We are all at a loss and mourning a great leader, man, husband, son, friend, and colleague.”

Lowry, who had served as interim chief since December, was officially appointed to the post in June.


That month, Lowry was faced with the task of leading a police department rocked by the shooting deaths of two El Monte officers, Sgt. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana.

A police chief walks in front of a line of officers
Lowry leads a procession at the June memorial service for El Monte’s fallen officers.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

“They left this world as valiant heroes,” Lowry said at a June funeral for Paredes and Santana, who were ambushed by a gunman in a motel room. “I am not saying that because of how they died. I’m saying that for how they lived.”

Lowry began his career in 2000 with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department before transferring to the El Monte Police Department in 2002. During his tenure with the department, he worked in the detective bureau, patrol division, and gang and narcotics unit, among other assignments.

A procession was held Monday afternoon to Forest Lawn Covina Hills. Funeral and memorial arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

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The Covina, Pomona and San Bernardino police departments offered condolences on social media, as did Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who said flags in the county were to be lowered to half-staff in Lowry’s honor.

“His sudden loss leaves a huge hole in the hearts of so many,” Solis said on Twitter. “In a year that has devastated the El Monte community and its police department, may we carry his legacy forward in continued acts of public service.”