skip to content

Our Media



Miami Dade Officer Mario Gutierrez Honored as 2014 FSA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

July 29, 2014

Tallahassee, Fla. (July 30, 2014) – The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) today announced that Officer Mario Gutierrez of the Miami Dade Police Department, has been selected as the “2014 FSA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.” Gutierrez was recognized at the FSA Summer Conference in Ponte Vedra for his dedication to law enforcement and living out his oath to serve and protect the public.

Miami-Dade Police Department Director J.D. Patterson praised the officer’s actions, “Officer Mario Gutierrez' courage while being attacked during this catastrophic incident epitomizes both heroism and commitment to serving this community. On that evening without hesitation, Officer Gutierrez placed himself in great danger to prevent a tragedy that could have caused death, serious injury and disaster to many. The potential damage to the service station and its customers, the delays to national and international travelers and the destruction to local traffic pattern were all averted because of his quick thinking and determined action. Officer Gutierrez was seriously injured and survived this horrific assault.  He is the consummate police officer who continues to serve this community at our Airport District. I am proud of him and the Florida Sheriffs Association in recognizing him as their Officer of the Year.”

Officer Mario Gutierrez has served the city of Miami as an officer in the Miami-Dade Police Department for more than 22 years. He is a highly decorated officer and is currently on the Motorcycle Squad assigned to the Airport District.

On October 29, 2013, Officer Mario Gutierrez was working his normal traffic detail near the Miami International Airport when he noticed smoke coming from a Shell gas station nearby, but the situation was far worse than he could have imagined. As he approached, Gutierrez saw a man, later identified as Dominique Jean, stuffing flaming wads of paper into the open cover of one of the station’s underground fuel tanks. The suspect then took one of the fuel hoses and attempted to add more gas in order to blow up the station. Officer Gutierrez quickly approached the gas pumps and pressed the emergency shut-off button. At this point, the suspect made an aggressive move toward the approaching officer, forcing Gutierrez to use his Taser, but the perpetrator was unfazed by the electricity coursing through his body. He lunged at Gutierrez with a large knife, cutting his arm. 

Gutierrez’s years of defensive training and instinct kicked in and he wrestled the knife out of the suspect’s hands and turned it on him, stabbing him three times. This criminal was undaunted. He got up, grabbed a large screwdriver and attacked Officer Gutierrez again; he mounted the officer from behind in an attempt to stab one of Miami’s finest. That’s when he reached for the officer’s gun. At this point, Officer Gutierrez had to wrestle for his own sidearm, while images of his family flashed through his mind. As he tried to gain control, the suspect bit the hand that was grasping the firearm, nearly taking off Gutierrez’s thumb. Feeling no pain, Officer Gutierrez quickly gained control of the gun and fired two shots, one to the shoulder and one to the chest. He then extended his arms and fired three more shots center mass. 

The suspect was dead and the attempt to blow up the airport gas station had been thwarted, but the fight was not over for Officer Mario Gutierrez. As he reached for his radio he could barely see the screen, and after several attempts he was finally able to connect for help. Not knowing the extent of his own injuries, Gutierrez rose to his knees as his fellow officers arrived to rush him to the hospital. Even in his weakened state, his first instinct was to warn his brothers in arms that there was still fire near the fuel tanks. Officer Juan Leon rushed him to the hospital, the thoughts of family and duty still on his mind; Gutierrez apprised Leon of the situation, and then asked him to tell his family that he loves them. Miami trauma doctors saved Officer Mario Gutierrez’s life; Officer Gutierrez saved countless others. 

“We would like congratulate Officer Gutierrez and each of the outstanding officers who were nominated,” said Steve Casey, Executive Director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “We give thanks to all the Florida Law Enforcement officers who protect our great state 24/7, 365 days of the year. Sheriffs’ Offices embody excellence as we make a difference in each of the 67 counties we serve, and we are honored that the brave efforts of Miami Dade Police Officer Gutierrez were recognized today.”

For his dedicated service, the Florida Sheriffs Association has named Officer Gutierrez the 2014 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. During their annual summer conference banquet, Gutierrez was given a standing ovation from the 500-plus law enforcement attendees and their supporters, in addition to a handsome plaque and a check for $2,000.

Watch the actions taken by Officer Gutierrez which lead to him being reconginzed with this award.

# # #