Menlo Park: Assault rifle-type weapon found, suspect still on the loose

Officers searching for suspect who reportedly fired gun in backyard Saturday night

Update: The suspect turned himself in to the Menlo Park Police Department on Wednesday, Feb. 28, around 2:20 p.m., police spokesperson Nicole Acker confirmed. He was booked into the San Mateo County jail.

The firearm has been found, but the man who police say shot an assault rifle-type weapon in a Menlo Park backyard on Saturday night (Feb. 24) is still at large.

Suspect Jose Gutierrez, 36, is currently wanted by the Menlo Park Police Department for allegedly shooting a firearm recklessly, which is a felony. He is associated with a silver Honda Accord, license plate number 5ZCK527. He had not yet been found as of around 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 26, according to police spokeswoman Nicole Acker.

On the night of Feb. 24, Mr. Gutierrez allegedly fired an assault rifle-type weapon in the backyard of his home at 1122 Sevier Ave., which witnesses allege was in response to a loud party next door.

Police responded to a call around 11 p.m. Saturday night reporting that the man had been seen shooting the firearm in the backyard. No one was injured, according to police.

When police arrived, they set up a perimeter and tried to contact people inside Gutierrez's home. They did not receive a response, but based on witness accounts of the incident they believed the man might still be in the house with an illegal firearm.

The police obtained a search warrant to remove any illegal firearms, and the San Mateo South County Regional Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team arrived on scene.

At around 8:57 a.m. Sunday, the SWAT team entered and searched the residence but did not find the suspect or the rifle. They did "locate significant evidence that a shooting had occurred," and warned that Mr. Gutierrez was "considered armed and dangerous as the rifle used is still outstanding," according to a statement issued by the police department shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday.

The scene was then turned over to the city's police detectives, who collected evidence at the home.

Police issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying that detectives had located the assault rifle-style weapon allegedly used in the shooting incident, but said Mr. Gutierrez "is still outstanding."

During the investigation, police sent out public alerts at 6:23 a.m. Sunday asking people to avoid the area, and another at 7:43 a.m. asking the public to shelter in place. Police reported via social media at 11:10 a.m. that the shelter-in-place advisory was lifted.

Belle Haven resident Jaime Maldonado, who lives across the street from the home that was searched on Sevier Avenue, told the Almanac that he didn't expect police to find anybody in the house. He said that, to his knowledge, nobody has lived in that house for about three months. There had been a family living in the rear studio unit on the property, he said, and recently only a man had been living there. When shown a photograph of the suspect, though, Mr. Maldonado said that the suspect was not the same man who lived on the property.

Police believe that the suspect had been living in the home, Ms. Acker confirmed, noting that the investigation is ongoing and more details are not yet available.

Mr. Maldonado said that about two weeks ago, he heard gunshots coming from somewhere in the neighborhood, but didn't know where, and said they might have come from the house where police found the evidence of shooting.

He added that the incident doesn't change his positive perception of his neighborhood and that he wasn't afraid: He spent his morning stuck sheltering in place drinking coffee and watching TV.

Anyone with information about this case or the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call the Menlo Park Police Department at 650-330-6300.


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Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 25, 2018 at 12:31 pm

Did the neighbors know the perp had an assault rifle? They should have reported him to the police long ago.

2 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm

Resident, Reported him for what? Unless he was discharging the weapon thS

7 people like this
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm

Somehow that last post got corrputed. Unless he was discharging his weapon in public he wasn't doing anything illegal. The article says he may have had an illegal firearm but fail to say what would make it illegal (stolen? in the posession of a convicted felon? does not meet california requirements for a bullet button, magazine size, etc?

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