|Richard Gutierrez, 22, being escorted by Salinas police after refused medical treatment at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. He is being charged with the homicide of Victor Sosa, 57.|
The gang violence in Salinas has seen a massive rise in the last two weeks as rival gangs have erupted a turf war. The city has seen about 7 homicides in 9 days with many other non-lethal shooting and stabbings. In one instance, Salinas police shot and killed a gang member who opened fire rather than be arrested. It's been wild.
Last Thursday, I had arrived at the emergency room at Natividad Medical Center for a separate story. 10 minutes before, Victor Sosa, 57 of Salinas, died in the ER after being stabbed multiple times only 2 hours before. I would see his lifeless body surrounded by pools of blood on the floor of the trauma bay as doctors and nurses walked in and out of the curtained off room.
I was looking for a place to cover all the commotion without being in the way when two Salinas police officers slam through the ER bay door with a bloodied up young guy is handcuffs. It was Richard Gutierrez, 22, who was being arrested for the stabbing homicide. The cops sat him down within 3 feet from where I was standing. I looked up at the same time he did and I looked straight into the eyes of a guy who had just taken another life.
In my years as a news photographer, I had never come so physically close to someone who had killed another person so recently. As our glances met, I have never seen such darkness in a person's eyes. I don't think he regretted what he had done, but I have never seen so much fear in a person before. It was surreal, because the body of the man he had allegedly killed was still in the ER, a mere 20 feet from where we sat in the hallway.
I wasn't allowed to photograph a patient without their permission, but I asked Gutierrez. He refused, so I set up outside of the ER bay door for a shot of the cops dragging Gutierrez off to jail. Needless to say, he was less than happy about me taking his picture (above).
I was chatting with the ER doctor about it later on and he thought for a second and said something along the lines of during all his years in the ER, he can't recall a time when he had worked on saving one person's life, then moments later, also working on helping patch up the person that killed the first one.
|My shadow at the scene of a homicide in Seaside last week.|