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Tipsheet

California Man Rams SUV Into Group of Law Enforcement Recruits in 'Deliberate Act'

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

A 22-year-old man is being charged with attempted murder on a peace officer after intentionally plowing his SUV into a group of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and police recruits who were on a training run.

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According to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, the cadets were running in formation when Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez crossed the center line of a road, striking them. Twenty five were injured, five of them critically.

“(Investigators) went through an exhaustive interview process with everyone involved, with the video surveillance statements from the recruits, the physical evidence they had, and what they got from the suspect himself," Villanueva told NewsNation. "And they were able to form the opinion that this was a deliberate act."

The case was still under investigation, but the department said homicide investigators intended to present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday.

In addition to the five recruits who were critically injured, 16 had minor injuries and four had moderate injuries, Sheriff Villanueva said at a news conference on Wednesday. The critical injuries were possibly “life-altering,” he said, and included head trauma, broken bones and lost limbs. There were no updates to the recruits’ conditions on Thursday.

“It’s a tragic event, very traumatic for all involved,” the sheriff said Wednesday. […]

The group set out in a formation of four columns, from smallest to tallest, and accompanied by guards in reflective vests and by safety vehicles that are used to block traffic, Capt. Pat McDonald, who leads the Sheriff’s Department’s training bureau, said at the news conference.

As the group turned northbound on Mills Avenue, they formed a two-column formation because of traffic. Then the car, which was southbound, veered into the northbound lanes and struck the recruits, he said. (NYT)

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Those in the front of the formation were able to move out of the way but those behind did not see the oncoming car. 

“They had zero warning,” McDonald said.

While marijuana was found in the SUV, Gutierrez reportedly passed a field sobriety test. 

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