DAVIE, Fla. - A three hour standoff on Florida's Turnpike ended when a Vietnam veteran threatening to commit suicide surrendered to authorities.
About 8 a.m. Monday, Fredy Gutierrez parked his van, then sat on the ledge of a retaining wall about 70 feet above the Turnpike. At times, he placed a noose around his neck with the other end tied to the top of the van.
Gutierrez, 59, also had an assault rifle, said Davie police spokesman Captain Dale Engle.
"This man was literally on the edge," said Engle. "One wrong move and he would've fallen and I'm sure it would have been certain death."
Gutierrez surrendered to police after 11 a.m. Authorities then reopened the Turnpike and Interstate 595, where hundreds of drivers had sat for hours.
"I thought I was going to die because I thought he was going to die," said his wife, Teresa Gutierrez. "I thought for sure they were going to shoot him."
She said he served in Vietnam when he was 17 years old but the federal government intended to deport him because he wasn't a U.S. citizen.
"He lost faith in this country," said Gutierrez. "It was just hanging over him. After he served his country, he was still looking at being deported, and that was eating away at him, not knowing when someone was going to come knock on the door or when he was going to be told, 'Okay, you got to go back to a place that you never knew."
Her husband moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was 11 years old.
"He was trying to bring attention to a situation and make someone listen," said his wife. "That's all."
Police say Gutierrez won't face charges but he will be hospitalized to undergo a psychological evaluation.
Copyright 2013 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.