The driver who crashed into a sea of police recruits on a morning jog in Whittier, California, has been arrested and now released, according to officials.

Nicholas Gutierrez was arrested “and charged with attempted murder on a peace officer(s)” with other charges pending, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed on Thursday, before they released him from custody later that day.

Out of roughly 75 recruits out running, 25 suffered injuries after the suspect drove his car into them around 6:26 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“It looked like an airplane wreck; [there were] so many bodies scattered everywhere,” L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva described of the “traumatic” scene during a press conference on Wednesday.

He also noted in the press conference that the driver blew 0.0 on a breathalyzer test, and the cause of the crash is unknown.

An investigator stands near a mangled SUV that struck Los Angeles County sheriff’s recruits in Whittier, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. The vehicle struck several Los Angeles County sheriff’s recruits on a training run around dawn Wednesday, some were critically injured, authorities said.
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]During the press conference, Villanueva added that five of the victims were in critical condition and four people had moderate injuries, while the remaining 16 suffered minor injuries.

Gutierrez, 22, was released Thursday night, as investigators collect more evidence for the charges, according to a statement from authorities obtained by outlets including ABC News and the Washington Examiner.

“Due to the extreme complexity of the investigation, which includes ongoing interviews, video surveillance review, and additional evidence needed to be analyzed, homicide investigators have released Mr. Gutierrez from the Sheriff’s Department custody,” the statement read.

]]While it was dark outside during the time of the run, the sheriff’s office had two patrol cars escorting the runners and road guards in reflective vests also ran outside the recruits, officials said, per ABC News.

]Of Gutierrez’s release, Deputy Deanna Mares told CNN of officials, “It’s not like they arrested the wrong suspect. They just want to make sure the investigation is going to be complete.”

Gutierrez was reportedly alone at the time of the crash, per CNN, with the outlet citing the sheriff’s department.

]Alexandra Kazarian, an attorney for Gutierrez, told told CNN affiliate KABC on Thursday, “I have no doubt that an in-depth investigation will confirm that Nicholas is a hardworking young man who holds no animosity towards law enforcement, and this was an absolutely tragic accident.”

While it is unclear whether the charges against Gutierrez were dropped amid his release, PEOPLE has reached out to the sheriff’s department for further information.

By Admin