Panel probes Gutiérrez shooting death

New evidence and information about the April 2009 shooting death of 19-year-old Luis Gutiérrez by undercover Yolo County anti-gang officers was presented last weekend.

The Independent Civil Rights Commission -- lead by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso -- presented new witnesses, who provided information about the case.

Viena Navarro and Javier Cabrera spoke in Spanish during the hearings held at the Yolo Community Center on Saturday and Sunday. Dozens of political leaders and community members attended the sessions. Both had previously spoken to the Yolo County District Attorney's Office, which concluded that the shooting was justified.

Navarro recalled driving slowly across the Gum Bridge and saw what she thought was a playful altercation. Upon closer view, she noticed Gutiérrez's face was red but not bloodied. She didn't realize they were officers, until she spotted a badge.

Navarro said she saw Gutiérrez to back away from the officers. Then came the gunshots.

"I heard three or four or five shots, and then I saw him fall to the ground through my rearview mirror. I then got scared and went through another street," said Navarro.

Cabrera repeated most of Navarro's testimony. Neither said they saw Gutiérrez brandish a knife against the officers.

Gutiérrez was walking home after taking a driver's test at the DMV office.

Family members and community leaders have pushed for an independent investigation into the shooting, but have yet to get a response.