A Vietnam veteran facing deportation caused miles of traffic buildup in Florida today as he threatened to kill himself by jumping off a high overpass.
The man, 59-year-old Freddi Guttierez, was armed with a rifle. Local police forces negotiated with Guttierez and were able to talk him out of jumping after three hours.
“This man is a veteran, he has some personal issues that he’s trying to resolve,” said Davie, Florida Police Captain Dale Engle. "For some reason he's facing deportation. He expressed that he's having issues receiving services through the veterans' association."
Gutierrez’ wife told CBS-Miami that her husband has faced the possibility of deportation for years. He missed a naturalization hearing in 1973 and was charged with assaulting a public servant in 2002.
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Guttierez came to the United States in 1965 as an 11-year-old child. He joined the army and was honorably discharged in 1977 after serving in the Vietnam War.
His wife reports that Guttierez has been troubled since serving in the Vietnam War. He is apparently angry about how he is being treated by immigration services and frustrated by the lack of support he is receiving from the Veterans Affairs department.
Guttierez was seen drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette as he negotiated with police on the overpass. His van displayed a sign saying “HIPPOCRATE TRAITORS”. At one point, Guttierez tied a noose around his neck and swung a leg over the side of the bridge, threatening to jump.
After three hours of negotiations, he walked turned himself over to Davie Police Department officers. Several drivers who witnessed the standoff spoke to members of the media today.
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“All of a sudden traffic stopped and police cars pulled right in front of everyone and all of a sudden I just saw lots of men with guns,” said commuter Michelle Decarion. “A really intense morning just seeing the cops, really distressed and concerned.”
You could see the van there with the guy with his leg hanging over the wall and some cops with sniper rifles on him,” said witness Barry McCraw added. “It’s just a shame what people do to hurt other people and make this kind of mess.”
Helicopter video of the incident was recorded and released today: