Sheriff: Suspect Mowed Down LA Law Enforcement Recruits in a 'Deliberate Act'

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, accused of deliberately crashing into LA law enforcement recruits. Screengrab credit: YouTube/FOX 11 Los Angeles

On Wednesday, a 22-year-old Diamond Bar man rammed his car into a group of Sheriff’s Department recruits who were on a jog, injuring 25—several severely. On Thursday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva announced that the act was intentional, telling NewsNation:


They [investigators] went through an exhaustive interview process with everyone involved, with the video surveillance, the statements from the recruits, the physical evidence they have and what they got from the suspect himself, and they were able to form the opinion this was a deliberate act.

The announcement contradicts Villaneuva’s initial position that the attack was a “horrible accident.” RedState’s Kira Davis described the carnage:

A group of seventy-five recruits from the STAR Explore Training Academy were jogging along Mills Avenue in South Whittier (just outside the city of Los Angeles) when an SUV traveling the wrong way slammed into the trainees…

Some of the most severe injuries included head trauma, broken bones and loss of limbs, he added.

“We’re just facing some life-altering injuries for some most severely injured recruits,” Villanueva said.

No skid marks were found at the scene and Villanueva said, “from what I understand, he was in the vehicle with his foot still on the accelerator.” He added that witnesses said it “looked like an airplane wreck.”

Video from local station KTLA 5 shows the awful aftermath. Warning: contains graphic images.


As of this writing, seven recruits are still in the hospital, with five under observation and two in critical condition. From the LA Times:

One underwent surgery for extensive fractures to the legs.

The biggest concern is recruit Alejandro Martinez, who Villanueva said had surgery Wednesday. He had major trauma to his head and multiple fractures.

The driver, Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, was detained at the scene at the time of the morning crash and was formally arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of attempted murder. His bail was set at $2 million. He passed a field sobriety test but officers did find marijuana in his car.

Here he is after the crash, looking bizarrely calm and unconcerned about the mayhem he has just caused:

Not much is yet known about Gutierrez, and a motive has not been established. Authorities are investigating though:

News video showed that authorities searched Gutierrez‘s family’s home Wednesday night. Deputies banged on the door at the house in Diamond Bar, and a tactical team with guns drawn was also present, footage showed.

Authorities made entry after escorting two women outside. The video showed authorities spent some time inside, but they did not appear to remove anything visible from the home.


Though we don’t know the reasons behind Gutierrez‘s horrific act, this incident can’t help but bring back memories of the five Dallas police officers who were murdered in 2016 by a sniper intent on punishing law enforcement. It also must be noted that Wednesday’s attempted killing came on the same morning that Darrell Brooks, the man who rammed through a 2021 Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six and injuring 62, was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences for first-degree intentional homicide. Coincidence? Time will tell.

More information will be forthcoming, and we’ll report it to you as it does. Even though we don’t have confirmation of Gutierrez’s motive, we can say this is a truly tragic event that once again shows us the dangers that law enforcement personnel too often face.


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