The man authorities believe intentionally drove an SUV into Los Angeles County law enforcement recruits running on a South Whittier street Wednesday morning has been released. Two of 25 recruits injured in the incident remain critical.
Outgoing Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Vilanueva told NewsNation that he believes the SUV was deliberately driven into the group of 75 recruits running in formation. “(Investigators) went through an exhaustive interview process with everyone involved, with the video surveillance statements from the recruits, the physical evidence they had, and what they got from the suspect himself. And they were able to form the opinion that this was a deliberate act,” Villanueva told NewsNation Thursday.
Video reportedly shot at the scene and shown on Fox LA appears to show the SUV changing lanes to drive the wrong way down the street and then plowing into the recruits. The SUV was reportedly traveling the wrong way down the street at a speed of 40-plus mph, according to authorities.
Nicholas Gutierrez, 22, was charged with attempted murder of a peace officer, according to multiple sources.
Bond was set at $2 million, but according to Sgt. Magos with LASD, Gutierrez was released from custody Thursday evening, citing California penal code 849(B)(1), which authorizes peace officers to release arrested persons from custody due to insufficient grounds to file a complaint against that person, KTLA reports.
“We operate under prosecutor George Gascón. We definitely have grave concerns about his ability to prosecute. We are actually going to provisionally release him (Gutierrez) until we can have the case iron clad, iron proof, and submitted to the DA for filing consideration. Right now, we want to tie up all the loose ends on the case and then present it to the DA,” Sheriff Vilanueva told NewsNation.