Attorneys on both sides of Jowell Gutierrez’s trial agree that he shot at Williams Police Department officers with a Dragonov rifle.
What prosecutors and public defenders disagree on is whether the alleged 18 shots made at officers taking cover behind their police cars indicates an intent to attempt first-degree murder or an attempt to commit suicide by cop.
Gutierrez is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder against police officers, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of criminal damage for bullets he fired at police officers on Nov. 28, 2017.
Gutierrez’s public defenders, Staci Foulks and Charles Doughty, pointed to facts of the case and of the man, things like his specialty Arizona license plate “honoring fallen officers” and his skill as a marksmen and poor shot placement on the day of the shooting, arguing he shot at officers in an attempt to antagonize the officers into killing him.
Prosecutor Ammon Barker focused on Gutierrez’s desire to stay behind closed doors during the shooting, police reports from family members, like “if cops approach he will start shooting.” Barker argued that each fired bullet required an intent to kill.
Gutierrez could face a maximum sentence of 42 years in prison if found guilty for all charges.
Foulks focused on intent, asserting the jury should find Gutierrez guilty of disorderly conduct with a weapon.
“He’s not here saying, oh, this was the right thing to do in a rational frame of mind, no longer suicidal,” Foulks said. “He said, yeah, I did this. It was wrong. I’m going to be responsible for it.”
Gutierrez’s attorneys argue that if he wanted to kill the officers outside of his apartment, he would have. Gutierrez goes target shooting with his brother, the defense alleged. Detective Jerry Wilson admitted when asked by prosecutors that he was at a tactical disadvantage to Gutierrez’s shots from his second-story window.
“If Jowell wanted to kill him, wouldn’t you see a trail of bullets in pursuit of Anderson? You just don’t have it,” Foulks said, adding later that the closest bullet strike was about 9 feet from the rear wheel well.
Barker countered the suicide by cop idea, stating Gutierrez never attempted to contact police and never presented himself to police.
Barker walked through what happened before, during and after the event to outline his allegations about Gutierrez’s intent. He alleged that all the weapons in the house were loaded. Barker referred to testimony delivered on the first day of trial where Steve Owens, Gutierrez’s boss, said that Gutierrez told him he would “[expletive] kill a cop.”
“He didn’t fire once and allow them to shoot back. He shot 18 times,” Barker said, adding that he also used a weapon that would be lethal at that range as opposed to a shotgun or handgun in his possession.
The prosecutor played the body camera footage from after the shooting where Gutierrez can be heard yelling “[expletive] Williams PD.”
As to the aggravated assault charges, Barker cited testimony from one of the officers who was shot at who explained that he was afraid would never see his son again.
The jury has begun deliberating and has no expected time for completion.