Last Updated on November 18, 2022
A 22-year-old man who ran down dozens of Los Angeles sheriff’s recruits has been released from jail as police gather more evidence. Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, who was charged with attempted murder of a peace officer, was released at 9:49 p.m. Thursday, according to jail records that cited an insufficient complaint, CNN reported.
“Due to the extreme complexity of the investigation, which includes ongoing interviews, video surveillance review, and additional evidence needed to be analyzed, homicide investigators have released Mr. Gutierrez from the Sheriff’s Department custody,” authorities said in a press release.
LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Deanna Mares told CNN that Guitierrez was released because investigators need more time to gather evidence for the district attorney’s office. “It’s not like they arrested the wrong suspect,” Mares told the outlet. “They just want to make sure the investigation is going to be complete.”
Yesterday an SUV drove into Los Angeles Police recruits. According to police, the driver was not drunk and did not slow down when he hit the recruits. California authorities have not released the name or motive of the driver. Why is that?
— Charles R Downs (@TheCharlesDowns) November 17, 2022
A total of 25 recruits for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department, as well as some from neighboring departments, were injured after the 22-year-old allegedly ran them down in an SUV. Five recruits were left “critically” injured as a result of the seemingly intentional attack LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, according to the New York Post.
Injuries suffered by the five critically injured recruits included broken bones, head trauma and amputations, Villanueva said. Four recruits suffered “moderate” injuries while 16 others sustained “minor” injuries.
The large group of recruits were jogging on the side of the road when Guitierrez — who was going anywhere from 30 to 40 mph in an SUV — allegedly veered off the road and mowed them down. “They had zero warning,” LASD Captain Pat MacDonald said at a press conference.
The driver continued to plow through the recruits until he crashed into a light pole, finally ending the attack. “Thank God for that light pole because the vehicle ultimately hit it and stopped as opposed to possibly hitting more recruits,” MacDonald said.
Authorities have stated that Guitierrez was not intoxicated during the incident, leading them to speculate that this was an intentional attack.