The letter notes that “it may seem troubling” that Gutierrez waited 20 months to make a statement to investigators.
“It could give rise to an inference that his statement was tailored to conform to the known extrinsic evidence. But otherwise his silence does not constitute evidence against him."
According to the letter, investigators talked with several residents of the neighborhood, none of whom saw the shooting.
One resident told investigators that he heard people yelling the name of a gang at passing cars shortly before the shooting. Another said he heard someone say “stop,” then heard a gunshot. A third said he heard a pop, looked out his window and heard a police officer yelling something like “Why were you running, buddy?”
A woman told investigators she heard a vehicle that sounded like it was traveling fast, then heard a gunshot. She also said she saw a group of people running down the street yelling about the police.
Heitmann, the officer who was patrolling along with Gutierrez, said he heard a loud noise and thought Gutierrez might have been in a car crash. When he drove to the alley where Gutierrez’ patrol car was parked, he said he saw Gutierrez with his gun drawn, standing over Ramirez, who was lying on the ground.
Ramirez was breathing and had a faint pulse, the letter said. He died at a hospital.
Gutierrez was on paid leave for a short time after the shooting but has returned to duty as a Santa Ana police officer, said police spokesman Anthony Bertagna.
An attorney for Ramirez’ family did not immediately return a call requesting comment.