(KRON) — The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office released harrowing details from a 2022 incident in which a man used children as human shields, pointed a gun at their mother, and told police, “Come over here and I’ll f**king smoke her.'”
An investigation report into the Redwood City Police Department’s use of lethal force was released publicly on Tuesday. Five police officers were justified in fatally shooting Abran Gutierrez during the confrontation on El Camino Real, the District Attorney’s Office concluded in the report.
District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe concluded that “there is no legal basis for filing criminal charges against any of the five Redwood City Police Officers involved in the death of Mr. Gutierrez” and the officers’ actions were “legally justifiable self-defense and defense of others.”
The five officers were identified as RCPD officers Luke Shoats, William Wolfe, Nicholas Muniz, Victor Figueroa, and Jose Montoya.
The domestic violence incident unfolded on November 15, 2022 at a busy intersection at El Camino Real and Beech Street. The 36-year-old San Carlos man got into a heated argument with his 32-year-old pregnant girlfriend inside their car. The girlfriend’s three young children were also in the car.
The woman was “in a dating relationship with Mr. Gutierrez for the past three years, they have one child in common, and she is pregnant with another,” the report states. During their relationship, Gutierrez became increasingly paranoid and aggressive, the woman told investigators.
Officer Shoats was the first police officer who arrived at the scene. He saw Gutierrez pacing nearby. The woman told Shoats that an argument started inside their car, escalated, and caused her to pull over to call 911. Gutierrez stole his girlfriend’s phone and bit her arm, the report states.
Gutierrez had used drugs that morning and was “seeing and hearing things,” the report states.
Officer Shoats noticed that Gutierrez was “agitated,” “amped up,” and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. “At this moment, Mr. Gutierrez then turned away, stepped back, reached into his waist area under his clothing and pulled out a silver handgun,” the report states.
Officer Shoats yelled into his police radio, “Gun, gun, gun.” Shoats grabbed one of the children — a 10-year-old girl — and told the girl to run.
By this time, Gutierrez was inside a gold Prius holding the woman and the other two children hostage at gunpoint, according to investigators. “Officer Shoats heard Mr. Gutierrez tell him, ‘Come over here and I’ll f**king smoke her.’ He could also hear Mr. Gutierrez yelling at (the woman) to ‘Give me the keys.’ Gutierrez was holding the children in such a way as the create a shield to protect himself,” investigators wrote in the report.
Backup officers arrived on scene and waited for a chance to shoot Gutierrez without accidentally striking the woman and children, the report states.
Officer Wolfe told Officer Shoats, “He believed that Mr. Gutierrez was going to execute one or more of the victims in the Prius if he (Officer Wolfe) froze or did not do something.”
Officer Muniz said he saw Gutierrez holding the woman by her hair, trying to shove the woman in front to conceal himself, and using a child as a human shield.
Officer Wolfe fired a shot with his rifle through the windshield, striking Gutierrez. Wolfe said he only had a fraction of a second to take his shot — when the victims managed to pull away from Gutierrez inside the car.
Witnesses sent KRON4 dramatic video showing people running for their lives and police officers opening fire.
The gravely-injured assailant then crawled out of the Prius, according to the report. More officers continued firing at Gutierrez until he was motionless. He was declared deceased shortly after.
Investigators said police recovered Gutierrez’s loaded pistol under the Prius.
An autopsy performed by a forensic pathologist determined that police fatally shot Gutierrez in the head, face, neck, arm, and torso. Toxicology testing detected methamphetamine and THC in his blood, the report states.
Gutierrez suffered from mental health issues leading up to the incident, according to the report. Deputies were called to his parents’ home in San Carlos on October 16, 2022 and Gutierrez’s son told deputies that his father was “going crazy.” Gutierrez lived with his parents. The parents told investigators that he heard voices, experienced paranoia, and talked to people who were not really there.