We all like to believe that our police officers are willing to do anything they need to in order to keep us safe. With that understanding, we also understand that in doing so, these men and women in blue need to make the hard choices that we cannot.
One Miami police officer had to make several hard choices recently in order to save lives. He didn’t know at the start if what he was doing was right, but he did it anyway…
The roads around the Miami International Airport were completely closed. It was a confused mess for drivers, an irritant that was stopping frazzled commuters from getting to their final destinations. The police officers were doing their best to keep the populace calm and away from whatever was brewing down the road.
Meanwhile, Miami police officer Gutierrez was on the scene, though he had no idea why. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t remember much about what happened that evening. His memory, though mending, has a fair share of blanks in it. Luckily, we know how it all went down and how the trouble began…
Off the Deep End
It was 2013, and would-be mass killer and illegal Haitian immigrant Dominique Jean had finally gone off the deep end. After years of attempted murder and aggravated assault, he had decided to make his final stand at the Shell gas station right down the road from Miami International airport.
Before that last moment of mad inspiration, Jean had spent much of his life on the wrong end of the law. He’d been arrested four times over a four-year span for many offenses. These included the aforementioned aggravated assault with a knife, carrying a concealed weapon, and trespassing. This new scheme would blow them all away…
Crazy Man, Crazy Plan
Jean’s plan was to set fire to the Shell gas station on Northwest 25th Street and LeJeune Road. His intention in the crazy enterprise of his? Why, to blow the whole station up while taking a whole lot of people with him in his blaze of glory and infamy.
As Jean was running about the station, setting fires, Officer Mario Gutierrez was walking by. Officer Gutierrez had been on the police force for over 20 years. He was on duty in the Miami International Airport district at the time and as he walked by, something caught his eye…
Officer Gutierrez saw the flames in the distance. Any one with a brain can tell you that flames are not what you want to see in a gas station parking lot. The sight spelled trouble, and fire or not, the officer was ready to answer the call. As he approached, the brave officer beheld the man behind the blaze.
Dominique Jean had a crazed, manic look in his eye which would have been enough to signify that he wasn’t mentally well. Of course, him walking through a quickly spreading sea of fire over highly explosive underground tanks also did the trick…
It looked like something out of a Lethal Weapon movie. Officer Gutierrez drew his gun and stood outside the flames, daring the criminal to act. Within a few minutes, he realized he needed to put him down if he wanted to prevent the fire from getting even worse. The brave officer charged in.
Drew a Knife
Unfortunately for the officer, his enemy was prepared to die for his big finish. He was also armed to the teeth before he lit the fire. Officer Gutierrez approached and Jean drew his gigantic knife. He stabbed at him, swinging the weapon around and causing devastating injuries…
Ups and Downs
It didn’t matter that he was being stabbed though, Gutierrez kept right on fighting. Even as he was knocked down and stabbed, he would keep getting up to stop Jean from making a beeline for the unguarded gas tanks. He’d knock Jean down and as soon as they were both back up, charge him and knock him down again.
Eventually, though they were basically surrounded by an inferno, the officer finally had to make a decision. His life was in danger, as were those of the gas station’s patrons. He needed to do something. So he did. Feeling that he had no choice, he fired his gun at the assailant, killing him…
Hit the Valve
Wounded and bleeding out, Officer Mario Gutierrez stumbled over to the emergency gas stop button. Despite his grievous injuries, he was able to take one last bit of strength and turn off the valve, thereby preventing an explosion. Jean’s plan had been foiled by virtue of sheer badassery.
He fell to the ground out cold. Soon enough, investigators arrived at the scene. They took him back to the hospital and allowed the airport traffic to finally open up. Sadly, Mario’s story was far from over. They still had to call his wife…
Call Comes In
Laura Guttierez was sitting at home as she did every day when her husband went off to work. From the moment Mario had become a police officer, they had warned her that she may one day get a call that something had happened. Yet no one could be prepared for the news that day. “Everything got shifted upside down the moment of that call,” she said of the call.
Luckily, despite having been stabbed multiple times while surrounded by fire, and putting his life literally on the line in every way one can, Officer Gutierrez finally stabilized. The hospital reported that he would make a full recovery. Laura and indeed even his fellow officers let out a sigh of relief…
Takes it Seriously
“It doesn’t surprise me at all because he takes his role,” explained his wife. “When he puts on that uniform to serve and protect his community very seriously.” By all accounts, Officer Gutierrez is the type of man who always went above and beyond for his job. However, in this case, he does not consider himself a hero.
Not a Hero
Miami-Dade Police Deputy Director Juan Perez, who has known Officer Gutierrez says his attitude is par for the course. “I believe Mario hasn’t grasped the magnitude of what he accomplished that day,” he explains. Officer Gutierrez himself says he was “simply doing my job…”
Love My Job
Gutierrez hopes to be done with his rehabilitation quickly so that he can get back out there. Indeed, the minute the doctor gives him the Ok, he plans to be in uniform. “I love what I do. I can’t think of doing anything else, and I wanna be on that motorcycle again, can’t wait,” said the brave police officer.
Justified and Honored
Despite the fact that he had to kill Dominique Jean, Officer Gutierrez doesn’t regret it. It’s a real world case of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few in two ways. He was ready to sacrifice not only the potential killer, but himself to protect the community at large. If anyone deserves officer of the year, it’s Mario Gutierrez.