Assault rifle-type weapon found; suspect still at large | February 28, 2018 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 28, 2018

Assault rifle-type weapon found; suspect still at large

by Kate Bradshaw

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 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 weapon allegedly used in the shooting incident.

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 house, 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; they might have come from the house where police found the evidence of shooting, he said.

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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