MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade police officer who was wounded after being savagely attacked by a man who set fire to a gas station, spoke out Wednesday for the first time since the attack by the knife-wielding suspect.
Officer Mario Gutierrez, 54, suffered several stab wounds to his hands and back after a violent confrontation with Dominique Jean at a Shell gas station located at 2501 NW 42nd Avenue on October 29th.
Officer Gutierrez, who has been with the Miami-Dade Police Department for 21 years, said he loves his job and won’t ever forget the night he was attacked and nearly killed.
“Surviving. That was it. There was a fear of dying. It’s basically survive and do whatever you can do to stay alive,” Gutierrez told reporters about the night of the attack.
Gutierrez was on-duty on his motorcycle at the gas station when he spotted the suspect set fire to an underground gasoline tank.
“All I thought was the guy was coming here to commit a crime and I need to do my job and take him to jail,” recalled Gutierrez.
When the officer approached him, Jean attacked him with what sources said was a large knife.
“It happened very fast, very very fast,” said Gutierrez. “That’s the life of a police officer. Anything can happen very fast, that’s normal, that’s what we expect.”
Gutierrez was forced to shoot and kill Jean.
His wife Laura has been by his side during his recovery and knows his heroic actions to stop the suspect were warranted.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all because he takes his role, when he puts on that uniform to serve and protect the community very seriously and that night, he did exactly that when he saw potential danger he knew what he had to do and he acted very quickly,” said Laura Gutierrez.
Officer Gutierrez doesn’t understand the attention he’s receiving. For him, it’s just part of the job.
“I’m really surprised by all the attention to that because I never really thought about it. It’s all about doing my job and taking the criminal off the street. That’s my purpose, that’s what I do, I don’t think about stuff like that,” said Gutierrez.
Mario and Laura have four children and one granddaughter. She said they had a lot to be grateful for this past Thanksgiving.
He still hasn’t returned to work because he’s waiting for the green light from his doctor. When his doctor clears him to return, Gutierrez said he’ll be back on patrol on his motorcycle.