Note: details on this still to come. A few very significant problems.
1. Was the PCSO SWAT at the wrong house? Wrong suspect? Surname
of Garcia does not mean you are into the drug business.
2. Tactical/training issue. 71 rounds? Something very wrong here.
As far as PCSO, the incompetence starts at the top.
3. Perhaps most significant is the continuing lack of a protocol
between citizens and law enforcement on raids and entries. With the
drop houses, wrong addresses, home invasions, etc. We citizens NEED
TO KNOW that it is indeed law enforcement outside. Our D/HTO friends
frequently use police uniforms, on both sides of the border. So far
just the occasional use of fake police vehicles also. If this indeed
was not a justified shooting, it is a tragedy directly related to the
lack of a protocol. The problem is not going away. How many
citizens and law enforcement will die before it gets done?
Disclaimer: Have built in bias for USMC. A year so so ago, had a
drop house (drug/human) across the street from my house. Observed
the operation for a while then had to make quite an effort for local
law enforcement to take any action. Had to "go inside". ICE of
course is useless. After the place was finally raided, it was soon
repainted, to exactly match ours. Someone in law enforcement tipped
them? Law enforcement showed zero interest in info neighbors had
gathered from the smuggling operation. No media coverage of 40 plus
rounded up. ( Mesa PD chief at the time now in SF)
SWAT team fired 71 shots in raid
Fernanda Echavarri Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Wednesday, May 11,
2011 12:00 am
BENJIE SANDERS / ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Lt. Michael O'Connor, of the Sheriff's Department, discusses the
shooting death of Jose Guerena.
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
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
Guerena was dead by the time they were allowed in the house, fire
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
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.
Deputies said they seized a "large sum of money from another house"
that morning. But they refused to say from which of the homes
searched that morning they found narcotics, drug ledgers or drug
paraphernalia. Court documents showing what was being sought and was
found have not been made public. A computer check on Guerena revealed
a couple of traffic tickets and no criminal history.
Guerena was a Tucson native and Flowing Wells High School graduate.
He joined the U.S. Marines in 2002. He served two tours in Iraq in
2003 and 2005 as part of the Yuma-based MWSS-173 under direct
supervision of Master Sgt. Leo Verdugo.
Verdugo was with Guerena's family Tuesday afternoon. He gave them a
Marine Corps jacket and gloves to use at Guerena's burial.
"He was an excellent Marine, with a bright future ahead of him,"
"We had just bought a home and he was working graveyard shifts and
overtime just to help pay the bills, we were just starting to make
this house our home," Vanessa Guerena said.
"I know I can't have him back but I want justice. I want explanations
for what happened," she said.
Contact reporter Fernanda Echavarri at email@example.com or
Marine killed by SWAT was acting in defense, says family
Posted: May 10, 2011 6:14 PM
Updated: May 10, 2011 6:14 PM
Reporter: Joel Waldman
TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A smashed window and a barrage of bullet
holes might be the type of scene a battle-hardened marine finds in a
war zone; not the Tucson home he shares with his two children and
wife, "I saw this guy pointing me at the window. So, I got scared.
And, I got like, 'Please don't shoot, I have a baby. I put my baby
(down). (And I) put bag in window. And, I yell 'Jose! Jose! Wake up!"
explained wife Vanessa Guerena.
Husband Jose had just come home from working at the mine. His wife
Vanessa said he had just slept two hours, only to wake up to chaos in
his house. It was Pima County SWAT executing a narcotics conspiracy
"You're saying only (they) yelled SWAT after the shootout?"
KGUN9asked. "Oh, yes! Yes," said Guerena.
Vanessa said Jose grabbed a gun to protect himself from what he
thought were home invaders. But, authorities say the marine knew who
it was; and they said he had swat in his sights. According to
officials, Jose crouched with his AR-15 and said, "I have something
"Now they're saying this now that they admitted for him not shooting
back (SIC). They want to throw more dirt on him," said cousin Oscar
SWAT gunned Jose down with 71-rounds fired in just about 7-seconds;
officials say they did not expect Vanessa to be home with four year
old son Joel, who has questions like so many others, "The only thing
he asked me, "Mom, my dad a bad guy? They killed my dad! Police
killed my dad? Why? What did my dad do?" explained Guerena.
Jose's family want his kids to know he did his best to be a great
husband, dad and patriot.
Authorities tell us three other neighborhood homes were targeted
Thursday, all tied to a narcotics conspiracy. They say a large amount
of cash was found at one of the homes. But, not at Jose's; all they
said they found there was "evidence pertinent to the case".
Jose's wife insists there were no drugs or money in the home.
Police change story in fatal shooting; wife wants answers
Posted: May 09, 2011 9:44 PM
Updated: May 09, 2011 9:54 PM
Posted by Michael Truelsen, producer - email
By Som Lisaius, reporter - email
Vanessa Guerena wants answers from police after they acknowledged
that her husband did not shoot at them before they shot him to death.
Pima County Sheriff's investigators said Monday that contrary to
initial reports, Jose Guerena did not fire at them Thursday as they
served a search warrant for his home. Nevertheless, deputies shot and
Guerena did have a gun in his hand and pointed it at the officers,
but he did not fire it, said Deputy Erin Gibson with the sheriff's
Vanessa Guerena was in her son's room, she says, when she saw a man
outside pointing a gun at her. "I was yelling 'Jose, Jose,
somebody's here. Wake up, wake up!' so he can hear because the door
26-year-old Jose Guerena, a Tucson native and former Marine, jumped
up and asked what was wrong. When his wife told him, he grabbed an
assault rifle and told her to stay in their son's room.
"The only thing he told me, the last thing he told me - Vani ,go into
the closet with the kid. Go!"
So that's what she did with their 4-year-old son.
It was the last time she saw her husband of nearly nine years alive.
During the next few seconds, bullets riddled the family's Southwest-
side home. At least 60 holes, family members say; from the front door
through stucco and walls separating room after room after room.
In the middle of it all was a dead man - who did have weapon in his
hands - but never fired a single bullet. "The people he served ended
his life. That's how short I can put it to you. He served his
country, for his purpose, for his people and now they're saying he
was a high-risk person in this state.
"I don't know why they're saying that. Now they're backing up, saying
he didn't shoot."
That's why the family is coming forward...so soon after the incident,
searching for answers, that continue to elude this heart-broken wife
"Why? Why they did that to him?
"I just want justice for my kids...I want justice for them."