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Man charged with attempted murder after LA police recruits mown down released without bail

"We are going to provisionally release him until we can have the case iron-clad, iron proof, and submitted to the DA," LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

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The 22-year-old man accused of deliberately slamming his car into a group of Los Angeles sheriff's recruits was released from jail on Thursday evening, but police are insisting that they haven't made a mistake.

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, who has been charged with attempted murder of a peace officer, was released from custody at 9:49 pm as the sheriff’s department did not have sufficient evidence to hold the suspect for much longer, according to the New York Post.



"Due to the extreme complexity of the investigation, which includes ongoing interviews, video surveillance review, and additional evidence needed to be analyzed, homicide investigators have released Mr. Gutierrez from the Sheriff’s Department custody," authorities said in a press release.

"It’s not like they arrested the wrong suspect," LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Deanna Mares told CNN. "They just want to make sure the investigation is going to be complete."



Police are required to present a case to the District Attorney's office within 48 hours of a suspect’s arrest, but investigators were not able to gather the evidence needed in the timeframe.

Gutierrez is still considered a suspect in the case and police intend to arrest him again once they are in a position to present the evidence to the DA. For the time being, his initial arrest has been deemed a detention and his release considered provisional.

"We are going to provisionally release him until we can have the case iron-clad, iron proof, and submitted to the DA," LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told NewsNation on Thursday. "Right now, we want to tie up all the loose ends on the case and then present it to the DA." 

"[Investigators] went through an exhaustive interview process with everyone involved," he added, "with the video surveillance, statements from the recruits, the physical evidence they have, and what they got from the suspect himself, and they were able to form the opinion that this was a deliberate act."

This is a divergence from Villanueva's statement at the press conference the previous day, during which he described the incident as "a horrific accident."

An attorney for Gutierrez said in a statement on Thursday, "I have no doubt that an in-depth investigation will confirm that Nicholas is a hard-working young man who holds no animosity towards law enforcement, and this was an absolutely tragic accident."

Of the 25 recruits who were hospitalized, seven still remain there, including two in critical condition, fighting for their lives.
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