A Carlsbad Police vehicle
Carlsbad police vehicle. Photo by Chris Stone

A 20-year-old Washington state man pleaded guilty to an attempted murder count Tuesday for plowing a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians at a Carlsbad strip mall earlier this year.

John Martinez-Gutierrez, of Spokane, was charged with striking multiple people with his vehicle just after 2 a.m. May 15 at the Village Faire shopping center on Carlsbad Village Drive.

Carlsbad police said Martinez-Gutierrez got into a fight with multiple people in the shopping center’s parking lot, then drove his vehicle into a crowd of people, striking several of them. After driving a short distance, he then reversed the vehicle into a group of people, striking several more, then fled.

The attack left four people hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

Martinez-Gutierrez was arrested two days later at a motel in Escondido.

He is expected to be sentenced next month to five years in state prison, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.