Police release suspect accused of ploughing vehicle into 25 LA sheriff recruits

Police have released the suspect accused of ploughing his vehicle into 25 law enforcement recruits as they were out for an early morning training run in California.

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, 22, was arrested for attempted murder on Thursday morning but was released by authorities later that night because of the “extreme complexity” of the investigation, reported Fox11.

Mr Gutierrez, whose family has described him as a “good kid” who comes from a law enforcement family, is accused of crashing into the group of recruits with his Honda CR-V in Whittier early on Wednesday morning.

Jail records show that Mr Gutierrez was released from custody just before 10pm.

“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,” the agency said in a statement.

Authorities are not allowed to hold a suspect in custody for more than 48 hours without presenting the case against them to prosecutors Sgt Gerardo Magos, an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, whittier-crash-continues">told The Los Angeles Times.

Sgt Magos stated that investigators would continue to build a case and then take it to the Los Angeles District Attorney, which prosecutes cases.

The recruits attend the Sheriff’s Training Academy and Regional Services Center located roughly a mile and a half from the crash site. As many as 25 of the group of 75 were taken to local hospitals.

Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez at scene of crash (FOX11)
Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez at scene of crash (FOX11)

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that seven recruits remained hospitalised as of Thursday night. Five were under observation, and two remained in critical condition. One had undergone surgery for major leg fractures.

Mr Gutierrez was initially arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and his bail was set at $2m.

The recruits and their drill instructors were running in four lines and were accompanied by two black-and-white patrol cars when the crash took place at around 6.30am.

Sheriff Villanueva has said that all of the injured were part of Academy Class 464, which consists of 75 recruits from LASD, Bell PD, Glendale PD, Pasadena PD, and the UCLA Police Department.

Of the 25 injured, 20 were from LASD, two from Bell PD, two from Glendale PD and one with Pasadena PD.