Former Marine killed by SWAT in Tucson raises questions

Print
Email
|

by Alicia E. Barrón

azfamily.com

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Updated Friday, May 27 at 8:06 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. – There are new details on the case of a former Marine shot and killed by SWAT officers at his Tucson home.

The Pima County Sheriff's Office was targeting him as part of a complex drug investigation.

Jose Guerena, 26, was killed earlier this month when officers kicked in the door of his home during a drug raid and opened fire.

The Pima County Sheriff's Office released a report that says he never fired at the SWAT Team even though some of the officers claimed he did.

It began the morning of May 5 with a raid of four houses in the Tucson area which was part of a suspected violent drug smuggling operation.

Within minutes it ended with a SWAT team killing that is now sparking community outrage.

Iraqi war veteran Guerena, whom investigators now say grabbed but never fired his semi-automatic rifle, was shot 22 times with paramedics kept away while police say they secured the home.

Also inside were his young son and wife who called 911.

Questions since the shooting have mounted about whether deadly force was justified and whether the Guerenas understood it was police and not invaders storming their home.

Now the sheriff’s department has released a video of the crucial minutes when they say warnings were sounded.

The general counsel for the police union, Mike Stories, describes what SWAT team members say happened next. “Guerena makes eye contact with these officers who are in gear that says police, the shield says police, their helmets say police, they have patches that say police, he makes eye contact with them raises his weapon and points it right at these officers.”

Investigation documents show officers found body armor and a large number of weapons inside the home but no huge cache of drugs or money.

Guerena's wife says he was not involved with drug dealing. The father of two had worked for a mining company since leaving the Marine Corps five years ago.

Sheriff officials say their internal investigation continues into the chaotic minutes that led up to Guerena's death.
 

Print
Email
|