That’s right folks, this bizarre story continues to get more and more bizarre. Police have released a 22-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer after the SUV he was driving veered into the wrong lane and crashed into a group of Los Angeles County Police recruits on a. training run, injuring 25 of them.
Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, of Diamond Bar, was released late Thursday. According to NBC4 LA broadcast footage of him arriving home and reported the he didn’t answer any questions.
“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 today at approximately 9:55 PM,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Authorities identified Gutierrez as the drive of an SUV that veered onto the wrong side of the road early Wednesday in the suburban Whittier area, where the Sheriff’s Academy facility is located.
75 recruits for the Sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies were on a routine early morning run in formation through the area.
The group included two law enforcement vehicles and eight road guards wearing reflective vests, as well as drill instructors who are sworn officers, authorities said.
Five of the recruits were critically injured and two remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon, according to authorities.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference a few hours after the crash that “so far, it looks like it’s an accident, a horrific accident,” but Gutierrez was arrested later that afternoon.
Villanueva told NewsNation on Thursday that investigators believe the crash was a “deliberate act” and that there was probably cause to make the arrest.
He however said that Gutierrez was going to be “provisionally” released “until we have the case iron clad, iron proof, and submitted to the DA for filing consideration. Right now, we want to tie up all of the loose ends on the case and then present it to the DA.”
“I have 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,” Alexandra Kazarian, Gutierrez’s attorney, said in a statement to KABC-TV.
This is a developing story and we’ll keep you updated.
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