It was a typical evening in October 2013 that turned dangerous for a Miami-Dade police officer whose quick thinking is credited with saved countless lives.
The entire episode was caught on video.
Officer Mario Gutierrez noticed smoke coming from a nearby gas station. When he arrived, he saw a man with a gas hose stretched out attempting to ignite two 8,000 gallon underground gasoline tanks, CNN reported.
“When I saw that, I panicked, because I realized what was going to happen. And it scared me because I thought, ‘Wow, we are going to die. This is going to be a catastrophe,'” Gutierrez said.
The officer quickly shut off the emergency valve to the pumps and confronted the suspect, Dominique Jean, a 51-year-old illegal immigrant from Haiti with a long history of violence, with his Taser drawn.
“I hit the emergency shut-off,” he said. “And then I went over to him very quickly and drew my Taser. I was going to incapacitate him with my Taser.”
But the man charged toward him and stabbed him about a dozen times with a screwdriver as the confrontation escalated, according to CNN.
“When he stabbed me and I thought of my family, I became the predator, and he became the prey, and that’s why I survived,” Gutierrez told CNN.
“I felt that he was going to kill me. And I will be damned if he is going to kill me. I wasn’t going to let it happen,” he said.
That’s when he fired five shots in about one and a half seconds, killing Jean, CNN reported.
“It took about 20 seconds,” he said. “Twenty seconds for 12 stab wounds, a bite wound, and I fired five rounds with my pistol. It was very quick.”
Gutierrez, who previously told a fellow officer he was taking blood thinners, was drenched in blood.
Fortunately for him, the first officer to arrive to help him was the one who knew of his condition.
“I knew he was in trouble,” Officer Juan Leon said. “His brown shirt was completely covered. It was red. It wasn’t brown, it was red. I knew he had to get to the hospital right away.”
Thankfully Gutierrez made it to the hospital on time and lived to tell the tale.
CNN reported that Gutierrez received several awards for his bravery, including the Medal of Valor from President Obama and a Congressional Badge of Bravery. He also was named the Miami-Dade Benevolent Association Officer of the Year in 2013. The Miami-Dade Aviation Department game him its MIA Hero Award.
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