MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Wounded Miami-Dade Police Officer Mario Gutierrez is in “great spirits” as he continues recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital, according to officers who have been visiting him.
“Mario is in great spirits thank God,” said fellow motorcycle Officer, 49-year-old Marcos Derosa. “We are all praying for him and his whole family and the whole police community is praying for his him and his
DeRosa, who is a friend of Gutierrez, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “Mario is a good guy. He puts his heart out there for people. When he can do something good for somebody, he does it.”
Gutierrez is recovering from several stab wounds to his hands and back after a violent confrontation with a suspect Tuesday night at a Shell gas station next to the Miami Airport on Lejeune Road at Northwest 25th Street.
Police say the suspect—51-year-old Dominique Jean—had set fire to an underground gasoline tank when Gutierrez stopped him and may have prevented an explosion from happening.
Sources tell CBS4 that Jean attacked Gutierrez with a large knife with a seven-inch blade and a screwdriver or screwdriver type device. Sources say Gutierrez fired at least three shots after being
attacked by Jean.
“We all know when we take the oath that our jobs are on the line on a daily basis,” said DeRosa. “When we put this uniform on every day and leave our house and leave our family we realize there’s the possibility we have to confront an individual like Mario had to confront. It’s our job to protect everyone around you.”
Gutierrez has been with Miami-Dade Police for 21 years.
Derosa said, “Mario is the type of guy who is committed to his job and I think Mario did what he had to do to protect the community.”
Derosa said he has been a motorcycle officer for 12 years.
Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera also told D’Oench that the police union will be looking into whether Gutierrez’s police radio was working properly when he first called for help and whether officers have defective equipment.
“We’ve had this conversation before about how dangerous this job is we’ve seen our streets getting more and more dangerous and our guys working shorthanded,” said Rivera. “We know that Officer Gutierrez was working by himself.”
“I can tell you emotionally, this took a toll,” said Rivera.“One second your are doing a traffic detail and the next second your world is turned upside down,” said Rivera.
“This officer reacted instinctively,” said Rivera. “His training went into gear. It went into high gear. He was in survival mode.”
“As a union we are starting to look into information that when he tried to turn on his radio, there was a lag
time where he couldn’t call for help,” said Rivera.
“So if he had inferior equipment and if officers have inferior equipment, the union’s going to get involved
and find out what’s going on.”
Records show that Jean was arrested in December of 2012 after a victim claimed he had chased him and tried to stab him.
Jean died on the scene.
Gutierrez reportedly tried to use his taser when first attacked. But Rivera said it did not work. He said it’s not clear why that happened but said that would be investigated.