MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A military veteran who threatened to hurt himself Monday and brought traffic to a halt in the I-595/Turnpike interchange, was set for deportation proceedings due to an extensive criminal background.
According to a spokesman from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tuesday, 59-year old Fredy Gutierrez from Sunrise, has eight criminal convictions, including felony convictions for attempted murder, burglary and threatening a public official.
“An immigration judge from the Executive Office of Immigration Review ordered Mr. Gutierrez’s removal from the United States in January 2013; his case remains under appeal. Mr. Gutierrez has never been in ICE custody,” said ICE spokesman Nestor Iglesias. “ICE is very deliberate in the review of cases involving veterans. Any action taken by ICE that may result in the removal of an alien with military service must be authorized by the senior leadership in a field office, following an evaluation by local counsel. ICE exercises prosecutorial discretion for members of the armed forces who have honorably served our country on a case-by-case basis when appropriate.”
Fredy Gutierrez planted himself on the turnpike flyover at 5-95 during rush hour Monday, with a noose around his neck and a ‘non-working’ assault rifle propped on the wall. That led Davie police to send SWAT and their crisis response team to negotiate a peaceful ending.
On Tuesday CBS 4 spoke with the team responsible for getting Gutierrez off the ramp without bloodshed.
“He told me he had some problems with Veterans affairs. I’m a veteran myself so I reached someone at the VA, also a friend of mine at Immigration,” said Sgt. Ronald Bradley, who was part of that response team.
“He has an appeal pending so we will work to see what we can do about that appeal process,” said Bradley. “Even though we are police officers we try to empathize and understand what they are going through.”
The lead negotiator was Chad Rosen. “I introduced myself and he was crying,” said Rosen.
“I told him I had two goals: one was to have a peaceful resolution, the other was to shake his hand and say thank you for your service. He had said to me he didn’t want to die but he was prepared to die. I knew he was serious about his mission,” explained Rosen.
The second negotiator was Patricia Ravine. “He just wanted someone to listen. He felt like he’s tried every avenue to get what he needs and was at a dead-end,” said Ravine.
Everyone involved was relieved that Gutierrez surrendered without incident. ‘’It was a very nice outcome. We couldn’t have had a better outcome,” Ravine said.
At Gutierrez’s Sunrise home, his mother-in-law said they are all hopeful that once Gutierrez is finished with his mental health evaluation that he will be able to resolve his issues.
“We are praying. He is a sweet man.”
According to his immigration law firm, Gutierrez has been trying to gain permanent citizenship but has been stymied because of a 1992 criminal conviction of growing five marijuana plants.
Gutierrez has made a public cry for help before. Earlier this year on Facebook, Gutierrez recorded a 3-and-a-half minute video describing his troubles and pleading for help.
“I have trouble adjusting to civilian life and suffer from post traumatic stress which back then was never mentioned,” Gutierrez said in the post, adding that he has struggled with substance abuse and anger management issues.
Gutierrez said in the Facebook post that he has hepatitis C and is currently getting treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He said he wants to stay in the United States where he has lived the majority of his life and raised his daughter. “Deporting me will sentence me to a slow death without surrounding family,” Gutierrez said.
“ICE placed Mr. Gutierrez in removal proceedings due to his extensive criminal history following a referral from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2009,” Iglesias said in a statement.
According to police, Gutierrez never intended to jump off the overpass. Instead he had planned to hang himself.
Just after 11 a.m., he was taken into custody and placed under the Baker Act for observation.
Police suspect no criminal charges will be filed.