MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A year and a half ago, Officer Mario Gutierrez, while on routine patrol, was nearly stabbed to death by a suspect who had set fire to a gasoline station.
Miami-Dade Police Officer Gutierrez was at the center of a flurry of compliments and honors Monday as Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson presented him with a Congressional Badge of Bravery.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Gutierrez said. “All of us put on this uniform to serve the community and for the community to come out and honor one of us is amazing.
The Badge was established by Congress to honor exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty by federal, state and local law enforcement officers. The medals are awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General and are presented by the recipients’ Congressional representatives.
“It’s a tremendous honor and I’m deeply appreciative of it,” Gutierrez said.
Officer Gutierrez, on October 29, 2013, was on routine patrol and stopped at the Shell Gas Station on Le Jeune Road near Miami International Airport.
The subject, 51-year-old Dominique Jean, had set fire to an underground gasoline tank, according to Miami-Dade Police. Police said that Jean intended to burn down the gas station.
Gutierrez activated the emergency shutoff valve to the pumps and confronted Jean. Jean stabbed the Officer in the arms, hand, chest, stomach, and leg, also bit his right thumb. Despite the injuries, the Officer continued to fight and ended up shooting and killing Jean.
“All I thought about, you know, he’s not going to kill me I’m going to win because I want to see my family,” Gutierrez said Monday.
“I am honored to present Miami-Dade Police Officer Mario Gutierrez with the Congressional Badge of Bravery. Officer Gutierrez went above and beyond the call of duty by putting his life on the line and suffering severe injuries, to save others,” Wilson said in a statement ahead of the ceremony. “His training, quick thinking and swift action prevented a disastrous situation that could have resulted in countless lives being lost. On behalf of our community we are grateful and forever indebted to Officer Gutierrez.”
MDPD’s Director J.D. Patterson said in a statement, “It is an honor to have Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson present our officer with this prestigious congressional award.”
Officer Gutierrez is the first Miami-Dade Officer to ever receive the Congressional badge of bravery. He was also named the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent association Officer of the Year in 2013. He credits his wife Laura with helping nurse him back to health and put him back on the force where he said he belongs.