Robert Crowe - Express-News
On Monday — more than a year after what authorities and his family said was his first encounter with Deputy Roger Salinas — Gutierrez was shot and killed inside Salinas' patrol vehicle on a San Antonio freeway.
“Roger Salinas was the last person who should have taken my son to the hospital,” said the father, Ascension Gutierrez.
Salinas could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
After clinic staff authorized his request to be committed to a psychiatric hospital, County Judge Carlos A. Garcia authorized a warrant for a sheriff's deputy to transport him.
“When he wasn't feeling well, he would come into my office and ask to be committed,” Garcia said. “He was a very mellow, very kind of shy person.”
Gutierrez didn't say or do anything to indicate he feared Salinas when the deputy escorted him into the vehicle, officials said.
“My staff indicated he left cooperatively and very calmly,” said Emma Garcia, executive director of Camino Real Community MHMR Centers. “There wasn't any resistance or any problem at all.”
Ascension Gutierrez said his son's mental health deteriorated just three years ago, after he was nearly stabbed to death by a 52-year-old man in his neighborhood.
“After that, he wasn't the same boy,” said his aunt, Lupe Gutierrez.
In May 2007, while he and his father made his first visit with a probation officer, Gutierrez refused to take a drug test. After probation officers couldn't convince him to take the test, deputies, including Salinas, were called to the scene.
What followed, according to the father, was a beating so severe that his son had bruises all over his body, including his groin area, for many weeks afterward.
“Salinas took my son into another room and closed the door, then I just heard my boy screaming,” said Ascension Gutierrez, who was arrested and charged with assaulting a peace officer after he tried to intervene for his son.
“There was nothing that could even be considered a beating,” Trevino said. “These people are ... I don't want to go out on a limb, but I was born and raised here and ... there was no beating.”
The younger Gutierrez, like his father, was charged with assaulting a peace officer. The assault charges, however, quickly were dropped. Soon after the incident, the county judge issued an order terminating Gutierrez's probation for the marijuana charge.
“We were so afraid that I just said, ‘Andy, we have to forget about this,'” the father said.
But his son couldn't forget. Like the 2005 stabbing, he rehashed the incident daily, over and over again.
“He rarely had a good day,” Lupe Gutierrez said.
The Sheriff's Office and the district attorney's office never conducted an investigation.
According to a police report, at about 3:15 p.m. Salinas tried but failed to subdue Gutierrez with a Taser, so the deputy grabbed his service weapon and shot him in his arm and chest. Gutierrez died at the scene.
Still, Frio County's mental health officials said deputies reserve the right to detain patients. Ascension Gutierrez said clinic employees told him Salinas had advised them he planned to handcuff the young man, but that never happened.
In death, he hopes his son found what he needed most in life.
“All my son ever wanted was justice,” the father said.