In a harrowing standoff last November, a domestic disturbance call escalated into a deadly police shooting in Redwood City, leaving a family torn apart.
The suspect’s girlfriend, “Rosy” spoke exclusively to NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit about what she and her daughters saw and heard that day from the backseat of the vehicle as officers shot into it.
“I’m thinking like, I’m, I’m going to get shot in the head or my back because I could just see, like, so many things flying around in the car,” Rosy said. “So, then I’m just covering them. [the children] I just put their heads down and I’m covering them.”
The officers’ body camera footage released last May, depicted a chaotic scene, involving a suspect identified as Abran Gutierrez. The standoff quickly unfolded as Gutierrez was seen showing a gun before retreating into a car, where a pregnant Rosy and her two daughters were sitting.
Despite the apparent danger, Rosy disputes the official reports that claim Gutierrez used the children as shields and was threatening her.
“I was holding the baby the whole time. He never, he never held any of them in the car. I was never scared of him, or I didn’t feel threatened by him,” she said.
Rosy’s account reveals a different perspective from the reports. She recalls feeling confused and frightened by the officers as they fired their weapons.
“Why are they shooting? Like, how do I tell them to stop? Like I’m going to talk to him?” she said.
In a matter of minutes, the sound of gunshots shattered the air as officers discharged rifle and gunshot rounds into the vehicle.
Bullets pierced through the windows and windshield, striking Gutierrez—and fragments hitting Rosy and one of her daughters, according to the mother of four. Gutierrez’s death certificate listed the cause of death as five gunshot wounds. He died before Rosy and their daughters’ eyes.
The subsequent investigation by the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office determined that the officers involved were justified in their use of lethal force, citing the threat posed by Gutierrez and their responsibility to protect the lives of civilians, including Rosy and her children.
However, Rosy and her family’s recollections of the incident raise questions about the officers’ approach and whether alternative tactics could have been employed to de-escalate the situation.
“I didn’t think that they would shoot at the car even when we were inside the car,” she said.
Rosy’s emotional retelling of the events paints a picture of a man struggling with mental health issues and paranoia in the months leading up to the incident. She emphasizes that she had reached out to law enforcement in the past, hoping that they would help her partner receive the treatment he needed.
“I saw a lot of comments, you know, thanking them,” she said. “But we don’t feel that way. We’ve I mean, my kids are scared of the police. I see all these comments like, oh, like, ‘Thank God those girls are OK.’ But how do you know they’re OK? They ask for him every day. My 4-year-old cries at night, saying that she misses him.”
Redwood City Police declined to comment, citing a pending internal affairs investigation that ends this month.
Rosy recently filed a complaint with the Department of Justice. Since NBC Bay Area’s interview, Rosy also delivered a baby boy and named him Abraham, after his father.
Source: NBC Bay Area