Former Marine Shot and Killed, SWAT Team Fired 71 Shots in Raid

Fernanda Echavarri Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:00 am


The Pima County Regional SWAT team fired 71 shots in seven seconds at a Tucson man they say pointed a gun at officers serving a search warrant at his home.

Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine who served in Iraq twice, was holding an AR-15 rifle when he was killed, but he never fired a shot, the Sheriff's Department said Monday after initially saying he had fired on officers during last week's raid.

Six days after Guerena was shot, few details about the investigation that brought the SWAT team to the southwest-side home Guerena shared with his wife and their two young sons are known. Guerena's role in the narcotics investigation is unclear and deputies would not comment on what was seized from his home.

Three other homes within a quarter of a mile from Guerena's house, were served search warrants related to the investigation that morning. The addresses and the names of people who live in the other homes have not been made public.

Vanessa Guerena says she heard noise outside their home about 9 a.m. Thursday and woke her husband who had just gone to bed after working a 12-hour shift at the Asarco Mine, she said. There were no sirens or shouts of "police," she said.

Guerena told his wife and son to hide inside a closet and he grabbed the AR-15 rifle, his wife said.

The department says SWAT members were clear when identifying themselves while entering the home.

"Tucson is notorious for home invasions and we didn't want to look like that," said Lt. Michael O'Connor of the Pima County Sheriff's Department. "We went lights and sirens and we absolutely did not do a 'no-knock' warrant."

When five SWAT members broke through the front door Guerena was crouched down pointing the gun at them, said O'Connor.

"The suspect said, 'I've got something for you,' when he saw them," O'Connor said. Guerena's wife denied he said that.

Deputies began shooting.

A deputy's bullet struck the side of the doorway, causing chips of wood to fall on his shield. That prompted some members of the team to think the deputy had been shot, O'Connor said.

The Sheriff's Department put in a call to Drexel Heights fire at 9:43 a.m. requesting assistance with a shooting. But crews were told to hold off.

Guerena was dead by the time they were allowed in the house, fire officials said.

Vanessa Guerena vividly remembers seeing her wounded husband.

"When I came out the officers dragged me through the kitchen and took me outside, and that's when I saw him laying there gasping for air," Vanessa Guerena said. "I kept begging the officers to call an ambulance that maybe he could make it and that my baby was still inside."

The little boy soon after walked out of the closet on his own. SWAT members took him outside to be with his mother.

"I never imagined I would lose him like that, he was badly injured but I never thought he could be killed by police after he served his country," Vanessa Guerena said.

The family's 5-year-old son was at school that morning and deputies say they thought Guerena's wife and his other child would also be gone when they entered the home.

Guerena says there were no drugs in their house.


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Yep, you've got that right Halo! The really sad part of this story is that it looks like the Swat team raided the wrong house (where have we heard this story before?) and unfortunately an innocent vet trying to protect his family and home was killed or should I say overkilled. Now they're obviously trying to cover up the fact.




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