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Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, suspect accused of mowing down 25 LA sheriff’s recruits on morning run released from jail

The 22-year-old man who was arrested for allegedly mowing down dozens of Los Angeles sheriff’s recruits deliberately with his SUV, leaving several critically injured, has been released from jail to allow police to 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 release.

LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Deanna Mares told CNN that Gutierrez was sprung because investigators need more time to collect evidence for the district attorney’s office.

“It’s not like they arrested the wrong suspect,” Mares told CNN. “They just want to make sure the investigation is going to be complete.”

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, left, the man arrested for running over California law enforcement recruits was released from jail Thursday night.

The sheriff’s department must normally present a case to the DA within 48 hours of an arrest and the investigators were not ready to do that with Gutierrez, she explained.

Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Gerardo Magos told the LA Times that authorities plan to arrest Gutierrez and present the case to the DA’s office once they develop the case further.

“The evidence is there. We just want to make sure it’s properly presented,” he said.

Gutierrez was released due to the sheriff's office not being ready to present the case to the DA.
Gutierrez was released due to the sheriff’s office not being ready to present the case to the DA.

The suspect’s initial arrest has been deemed a detention, according to the LA Times.

Jail records reportedly cited a California penal code that authorizes police to release people from custody without first being arraigned if there are insufficient grounds to issue a criminal complaint.

The case was expected to be presented to the DA’s office on Friday, but LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told NewsNation that the suspect would be “provisionally” released as investigators worked to build a stronger case.

“Right now, we want to tie up all the loose ends on the case and then present it to the DA,” he told the cable channel, adding that investigators had “developed probable cause to believe it was intentional.”

The SUV that Gutierrez was driving when he ran into the group of law enforcement recruits in California Thursday morning.
The SUV that Gutierrez was driving when he ran into the group of law enforcement recruits in California Thursday morning.

“They 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,” Villanueva told NewsNation.

Alexandra Kazarian, an attorney for Gutierrez, told KABC on Thursday night that she had “no doubt that an in-depth investigation will confirm that Nicholas is a hard working young man who holds no animosity towards law enforcement, and this was an absolutely tragic accident.”

 At least 25 recruits were injured in the horrific incident on Wednesday — five critically and some lost limbs, according to the sheriff’s office.

“There were so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved,” Villanueva said earlier.

Some of the victims reported that Gutierrez may have sped up in the Honda CRV right before impact near the sheriff’s STARS Center Academy.

Witnesses said he was going between 30 and 40 mph at the time.

The suspect took a sobriety test and had no alcohol in his system, officials said.

Villanueva said seven recruits were still hospitalized late Thursday, including two who remained in critical condition. One underwent surgery for severe leg injuries.

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