For Immediate Release:
March 05, 2014

Media Contact:
Greg Chin

305-876-7017



MIA POLICE OFFICER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN LINE OF DUTY RETURNS TO WORK, RECOGNIZED FOR HEROISM

Miami-Dade Police Officer Mario Gutierrez honored for risking life to avert potential disaster near MIA


(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 

The Miami-Dade Aviation Department Security Consortium recognized Miami-Dade Police Department Airport District Officer Mario Gutierrez today, presenting him with a plaque in honor of his heroic actions during a 2013 incident near MIA. Officer Gutierrez was seriously injured during the confrontation and recently returned to duty having made a full medical recovery.

“Officer Gutierrez is certainly deserving of this recognition,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “Our entire community owes him a debt of gratitude for his bravery, and we’re glad that he has made a full recovery.”

On October 29, 2013, Officer Gutierrez was on routine patrol at MIA when he observed an individual at a gas station on LeJeune Road tampering with the lid that accesses the station’s underground gasoline storage tanks. As he approached the subject, Officer Gutierrez realized the man had started a fire near the lid and was attempting to ignite the two 8,000-gallon storage tanks. Recognizing the immediate threat to everyone in the surrounding area and on the busy roadway, he quickly activated the emergency shut-off valve to the fuel pumps. He then made the courageous decision to approach the subject and prevent him from igniting the gas tanks. The confrontation quickly escalated into a violent struggle that left the subject dead and Officer Gutierrez badly wounded. Because of his heroism, Officer Gutierrez was able to single-handedly prevent a potentially catastrophic event from taking place.

“MIA is proud to honor Officer Gutierrez and shine a light on him for placing the lives of those around him above his own without the slightest hesitation,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. 

   

At left, Officer Gutierrez and his wife. At right, MDAD Assistant Director Lauren Stover presents Officer Gutierrez with the MIA Hero Award plaque while Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson (center right) and others look on.

To download hi-res photos, go to http://www.miami-airport.com/photos.asp.

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