'Justifiable': No homicide charge in Wednesday's fatal shooting in York City

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

The man who fatally shot Christian Gutierrez-Rosado inside a west-end home this week was acting in self-defense, according to York City Police.

Gutierrez-Rosado, 23, previously lived at the 702 W. Princess St. home where he was killed on Wednesday, April 10. He was recently living nearby in the 900 block of West Locust Street, officials said.

He broke into his former home through an upstairs window sometime between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. that day and physically assaulted the man who now lives there with Gutierrez-Rosado's ex-girlfriend, according to York City Police Lt. William  Wentz, who supervises the city detective bureau.

"After being assaulted, (the resident) fired one shot, killing Christian," Wentz told The York Dispatch.

The shooter's name is not being released at this point, according to Wentz.

Someone in the home called 911 at about 9 a.m., the lieutenant said. He confirmed there was a delay between the shooting and the call for help.

York City Police and the York County Coroner's Office investigate a shooting in the 700 block of W. Princess Street, Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo


"I think he was just scared," Wentz said of the shooter when asked about that delay. "When you take another person's life, that's traumatic. And he had just been assaulted."

Wentz said city detectives conducted a thorough investigation and spoke with residents, neighbors, family members and others.

"The investigation is not entirely complete, but at this point the shooting has been ruled as justifiable," he said.

DA reviewed case: Wentz said that after investigating, city police turned over detectives' findings to the York County District Attorney's Office, where the decision was made that the homicide was justifiable.

Christian Gutierrez-Rosado

York City Police Chief Troy Bankert said investigators followed the evidence.

"We go where the evidence takes us," the chief said. "Sometimes it takes a day or so to figure those things out ... to make the right decision the first time."

Bankert and Wentz said Gutierrez-Rosado's motive for breaking in and assaulting the resident isn't known, and that they could only speculate as to his reasons.

The shooter was taken into custody Wednesday morning and later released, police have said.

An autopsy determined Gutierrez-Rosado died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Wentz said police officials and members of the DA's office spoke with Gutierrez-Rosado's family the morning of Friday, April 12, and explained to them the circumstances of the fatal shooting  and why the decision has been made that it was self-defense.

Killed in former home: Gutierrez-Rosado lived at 702 W. Princess up until the time he was arrested for assault there in December, court records reveal.

Court documents reveal he was arrested late last year after allegedly choking and assaulting Misaelis Garcia-Lopez, 22, at that address. The two lived there together, court documents revealed.

According to those documents, Gutierrez-Rosado and Garcia-Lopez argued over money about 11:45 p.m. Dec. 13 and he put her in a headlock then choked her with both hands.

He choked her for about 30 seconds, to the point where she was unable to breath, according to documents.

Garcia-Lopez was able to break free and ran to a friend's home in the 900 block of West Locust Street, where she called 911, police said.

Arrested at scene: Officers found Gutierrez-Rosado at 702 W. Princess St. and arrested him, police said. At the time, he also had two outstanding warrants, according to court documents.

He was charged with the second-degree felony of strangulation as well as simple assault and harassment.

Police said he was not supposed to be at the home. In York County, people released on bail are routinely forbidden from having any direct or indirect contact with their alleged victims.

Longtime local attorney Bill Graff represented Gutierrez-Rosado in the domestic assault case and confirmed that his client and Garcia-Lopez had been romantically involved.

"He was in love with this girl," Graff said. "She's just a nice young kid."

Gutierrez-Rosado appeared before District Judge Joel Toluba on Feb. 6 and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Graff said his client waived the hearing with the agreement that he would take anger-management classes.

"(Prosecutors) agreed that if he took anger-management classes, we could resolve the case down the road," Graff said.

'I'm done': At the hearing, Gutierrez-Rosado spoke with his alleged victim, his attorney said:

"He said, 'I love you,' and she said, 'I'm done with you — I'm done,'" Graff recounted.

Graff said his client also seemed like a nice kid.

York City Police and the York County Coroner's Office investigate a shooting in the 700 block of W. Princess Street, Wednesday, April 10, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

"It was a domestic dispute gone bad," he said of the assault.

Gutierrez-Rosado was originally from Puerto Rico, moved stateside to Texas, then came to York from there about a year and a half ago, according to Graff.

"He has family in the (York) area," the attorney said.

Gutierrez-Rosado had been held in York County Prison on his domestic-assault charges until Friday, April 5, when he was released after posting $25,000 bail, according to court records.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.