The family of a teenage boy who was shot and killed while reportedly trying to protect his pregnant sister from her violent boyfriend is being called a hero by his family.
Jesse Gutierrez, 17, died of his injuries after he was allegedly shot by 20-year-old Crispin Acevedo on Wednesday, Phoenix police said.
John and Rocio Gutierrez said they’re still trying to come to grips with what happened to their son.
"You can’t even describe the pain (of) losing a son," Rocio Villa-Gutierrez, Jesse's mother, said.
Jesse's young life was cut short after a violent argument at a home near 71st Avenue and Van Buren Street led to the shooting.
According to court documents, Acevedo and his girlfriend were arguing when he allegedly pushed her onto a bed and started to choke her.
Jesse then went into the room, where an argument ensued before Acevedo allegedly grabbed his handgun and shot him.
Jesse's mother said she was not surprised that her son jumped in to help.
"That’s what he would do for her or anyone, or his other sisters," Rocio said.
His parents believe their son might have had a different outcome if emergency response had been quicker.
"I feel like they didn’t do their job like they were supposed to," John Gutierrez said. "I feel like they could have gotten here faster."
The shooting occurred just before midnight. John said that he believed it took paramedics up to 30 minutes to arrive after emergency calls were placed.
"When they got here, police said they had to clear the house. The paramedics wouldn't come inside until police told them," John said.
"I kept yelling, 'The guy is gone, I need a paramedic!' I was performing CPR because I saw Jesse wasn't breathing."
The Phoenix Fire Department said the ambulance arrived at 12:03 a.m., just before police deemed the area safe. They rendered aid at 12:10 a.m. and left the home eight minutes later. They added that it is protocol to not enter a home until the scene is safe if a gun is involved.
The Phoenix Police Department said the 911 call came in at 11:58 p.m. and the first officer arrived at 12:04 a.m. and believed he saw the suspect fleeing the scene. The second officer arrived at 12:06 a.m., police said.
Regardless of what the response time was, the Gutierrez family says it won’t bring their son back.
"For some reason, God blessed me with him. He was such a good kid. He wasn't into gangs, he loved his family and friends," John said.
"He was really quiet, never complained," he added. "If I asked him to do something, he would just do it."
John said his son was dedicated to school, worked with him in his plumbing business and spent much of his time playing Xbox - like most 17 year olds do.
Jesse leaves behind five sisters, and family said he died helping the sister he was closest to. They had just helped him buy his very first car, a 2011 Camaro, which his family says will now become a memorial.
"It’s not going anywhere, it’s going to stay," John said.
"He had a lot going on in his life. He was happy he just got a car. He was working and he wasn’t done here," Rocio said.
Acevedo is facing second-degree murder charges. His bond has been set at $750,000.
Family and friends held a candlelight vigil for Jesse on Friday night. No funeral plans have been announced at this time.