Wife of man shot by Pima County SWAT tells story

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- New details are emerging in the case of an Iraq war vet shot and killed by

SWAT team members serving a warrant.


Monday the Pima County sheriff's department admitted the man did not fire at them first.

Tuesday, his wife gave her side of the story.

"As soon as we opened the door they were confronted with an individual in a crouched position pointing an AR-15 military assault rifle and saying and I'll quote what he said, he said, 'I've got something for you,'" said Lt. Michael O'Connor.

Gunfire erupted. When the dust settled, retired marine Jose Manuel Guerena was dead.

The Pima County sheriff's department says deputies were serving a warrant, looking for evidence in a drug conspiracy case.

"Do they have a case?  What case," asks Jose Manuel Guerena's wife Vanessa Guerena.

Vanessa Guerena tells a different story of what led to her husband's death.  She says she was frightened to find armed men surrounding her home Thursday morning.

"I saw this guy pointing at me with this big old gun and I just yelled' Jose,'" said Guerena.

Jose grabbed a weapon, Vanessa says, to defend the family against men who they didn't think looked like officers.

"I went into the closet and I wasn't even closing the door when I heard the (motions with hands). They never announced themselves, if they did it would have been different," said Guerena.

"We come in very high profile, lights and sirens, we go to the door, we pound on the door we wait approximately 15 seconds and if no one answers the door, we breach the door," said Lt. O'Connor.

The sheriff's department admits Jose never fired his weapon, but say they had to shoot because of the threat.

Officers fired more than 70 rounds.  Then there was chaos.

"One of the officers has a shield and actually when he fires starts to fall backwards.  Some of the officers thought that officer had been shot," said Lt. O'Connor.

The story continues to unravel. The sheriff's department is interviewing all of those involved, while Vanessa prepares to bury her husband of eight years.

"I want justice, justice for this.   I mean, I'm afraid," said Vanessa Guerena.

When asked why they need a SWAT team to serve the warrant, the sheriff's department said it was high risk, which means the person involved could be armed.

Services for Jose Guerena are scheduled for Wednesday at the Carillo Mortuary from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.