NOTHING TO SEE HERE FOLKS. MOVE ALONG.
This story has been on the back burner since it occurred on the fifth of May, 2011. The decision to publish it was made weeks after I started collecting the information which necessitated the list below for reference. Please read it and visit the links to familiarize yourself with the incident.
In brief: Tucson, AZ, Beginning May 5th, 2011 to posting date.
Story #1 May 5th- The Pima County Regional SWAT Team was deployed in the service of warrants for”‘narcotics conspiracy” investigations at three locations in Tucson. At one location, a residence, deputies entered and were confronted by a man firing a long-rifle. Suspect was killed. The wife and child were able to exit the house prior to the shooting. The Sheriff’s Department is still investigating. (http://www.kgun9.com/)
Story #2 May 9th- Information received from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department identifies the suspect as 26-year-old Jose Guerena and the investigation now reveals the suspect pointed the weapon at the deputies but did not open fire. Additionally the rifles safety was in the ‘on’ position “but was loaded”. His wife and 4-year-old son were also at the home but were uninjured. (http://www.kgun9.com/)
Story #3 May 10th- Neighbors interviewed regarding the 9:45 Thursday morning raid” called the incident “crazy” and the Guerena family “was the quiet family on the street”. PCSD deputies told KGUN 9 News the deputies were serving a search warrant without stating the reason for it. According to the deputies they were walking down a hallway when Guerena pointed a weapon at them and fired. The deputies were forced to return fire killing the suspect. The deputies SWAT shields took the hits from the rounds fired by Guerena. The deputies referred to the “high risk” nature of the warrants for the justification to use a SWAT team. Deputies later searched the house but did not disclose what was seized. (http://www.kgun9.com/)
Story #4 May 11th- New information released identifies the suspect killed in the shoot-out as a former Marine Corps veteran with two tours of duty in Iraq. He had a military rifle in his possession at the time of the shooting. His wife and child were hiding in the closet during the incident, having been told to do so by Jose Guerena, after being awakened by his frightened wife after she saw “this guy pointing me at the window. Please don’t shoot, I have a baby!” I yelled, “Jose! Jose! wake up!” Jose Guerena had fallen asleep two hours prior after working a graveyard shift at the Asarco Mine and awakened to chaos in his house. His wife stated that he retrieved the weapon thinking a home invasion was occurring. Deputies stated that reports that the SWAT teams shields were riddled with bullets were untrue, that evidence pertinent to the investigation of narcotics conspiracy was recovered during the search and that seventy-one (71) bullets were fired by deputies. Vanessa Guerena stated there was no money or drugs in their house. (http://www.kgun9.com/)
Story #5 May 11th– The Arizona Daily Star reports today that the SWAT team fired seventy-one shots in seven seconds at Jose Guerena, a Marine Corps veteran with two tours service in Iraq. He was holding a AR-15, which was discovered to be in ‘safe’ mode when examined, although deputies had earlier reported Guerena fired at them. Vanessa Guerena states that there were no sirens or shouts of “police” prior to entry by deputies and that her husband armed himself fearing a home invasion. Lt. Michael O’Conner stated, “Tucson is notorious for home invasions and we didn’t want to look like that. We went lights and sirens and we absolutely did not do a ‘no knock’ warrant.” O’Conner further stated,”The suspect said, ‘I’ve got something for you’ when he saw them.” O’Conner also said that a deputies bullet struck the side of the doorway and splintered into a deputy’s shield, causing the others to believe Guerena had fired his weapon. Although deputies called the Drexel Heights fire station at 9:43 AM crews were told to hold off upon arrival. “When 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. I kept begging the officers to call an ambulance that maybe he could make it and that my baby was still inside,” Vanessa Guerena said. Her son walked out of the closet on his own and SWAT members took him outside. Although deputies seized a large sum of money from other raided homes that morning they did not say what was seized from Guerena’s residence. (http://azstarnet.com/)
Story #5 May 12th– New releases of information reveal that the responding ambulance crew was forced to wait an hour and fourteen minutes after having arrived on scene in two minutes following receipt of the call at 09:43 AM . They never were granted permission to examine Jose Guerena, who was killed by SWAT deputies May 5th. (At the scene of Gabriel Gifford’s shooting January 8th, 2011, they were admitted after only a twelve-minute delay.) (KGUN 9)
Story #6 May 13th– New releases as of this date. Lt. Michael O’Connor says SWAT says it never wants to be mistaken for other people, “We had our large armored vehicle there with the markings on it. It also has lights and sirens. It was going. So we do everything we can to try to portray the image that we’re law enforcement, we’re not home invaders.” But, Guerena’s wife, Vanessa, who hid in the closet with her youngest son while 71 rounds were fired her husband’s direction, said she heard nothing. At any point did you hear them yell, ‘police” or ‘SWAT’?” KGUN9 asked. “No, no!” answered Guerena. A neighbor who heard the shooting corroborates the wife’s account, “The only sirens I heard out here were like maybe 20-30 minutes into the entire ordeal,” said David Watson. Watson is very familiar with gunfire and stressful situations; he’s a Vietnam combat veteran, “I want to make this as clear as possible: you only heard the announcements after you heard the gunfire?” asked KGUN9 reporter Joel Waldman. Watson quickly answered, “Yes!” (http://www.kgun9.com/)
Free Republic has a link to KGUN 9 Tucson and comments that need to be read. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2719556/posts
Story #7 May 14th- http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_b3177522-baa0-5c9e-9f0d-d3d7da6e9e4b.html Take the time to read this. It is a reasonable overview of the incident.
Now add this to the tragedy above: COURT: NO RIGHT TO RESIST COP ENTRY INTO HOME http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ec169697-a19e-525f-a532-81b3df229697.html There is a PDF file of the decision available for download at the site.
Jose Guerena is dead, his wife widowed, children fatherless. Immediately after the shooting the SWAT team withdrew and, according to the timeline, he was left wounded and untreated for over an hour until he died of his wounds. Questions abound regarding the events of the mid-morning raid and the justification for the tactics used, the immediate aftermath, and the major discrepancies in the statements from law enforcement.
In my opinion it matters not one whit whether Mr. Guerena was involved in a “narcotics conspiracy” or not. The legal penalties available as punishment for engaging in a narcotics conspiracy do not include the death sentence. In my experience the tactic of deploying a SWAT team for the purpose of collecting information, and/or evidence, based upon the issuance of a warrant for those purposes is nothing less than an excessive use of force. The death of Mr. Guerena, as a result of this ill-conceived deployment, should be investigated by the Arizona State Attorney General and Federal authorities for both criminal and civil violations and prosecution of same. Of course the likelihood is that neither will occur and a final report will justify not only the actions of the officers involved, but any official who ordered the raid to go forward. I will express my shock and surprise if any other result is forthcoming!
What happened to good old-fashioned police work? Why was a SWAT team used instead of a well-dressed detective(s) in a business suit, warrant and identification in hand, administering a knock and announcement at the front door, with or without an uniformed officer being present? Why wasn’t Mr. Guerena approached in a civil manner at work or stopped by uniformed officers on his way to or from work? Wouldn’t Mrs. Guerena have been much easier to deal with if she hadn’t been in fear of a group of blacked-out, helmeted, armed men at her door?Why risk chaos and confusion on the part of the residents of a household with a militant display of overwhelming force and the ever-present threat of death to the occupants as a result of fear or a communication error? It would have been much easier and less deadly to all concerned to have used a more reasoned approach to investigate a non-violent crime. After all, Mr. Guerena is to be presumed innocent is he not?
Does Mr. Guerena bear responsibility for his own death by arming himself? Guerena was asleep after working a graveyard shift at the Asarco Mine, startled semi-awake by the anguished cries of his wife and fearing a home invasion which is common in the area surrounding his home. Could it be he is at fault for arming himself against such a perceived threat? His weapon was found set to safe upon recovery by deputies. Hardly what would be expected of a Marine Corps veteran intent on doing harm. Is it possible that he recognized, all too late, that the ‘home invaders’ were deputies and switched the weapon to ‘safe’ and in seconds was then shot to death for being armed?
This is the price we will continue to pay for the ‘War on Drugs’ and the continued use of paramilitary units for anything less than active shooting scenes, such as confirmed barricaded suspects with or without hostages, sniping incidents or the like. These were the original reasons for the establishment of SWAT units. Couple this incident with the decision from the Indiana Supreme Court and I can only hope that I and mine, or you and yours, don’t suffer the same fate, as we are all at the mercy of an ever-expanding government, at all levels, desirous of greater power and control.
While you enjoy the comfort of your home and family, give a moments thought at what your reaction will be when; with the explosion of a flash-bang grenade or two in your home, the crash of splintering wood and glass, the sight of a ‘stick’ of heavily armed, black-clad, helmeted and masked men invade your home.
Sleep well and good luck to you. As for me, I’ll likely be sharing the fate of Jose Guerena.
Locust: I agree,
Jose Guerena was murdered in his home while protecting his family from rogue trespassing thugs hired to be a standing army, created in our midst for this very purpose. For many years, his pay was taxed/diverted to to pay for their training, medical, mortgages, and food and board. His son still owes a huge debt to his fathers killers that he will continue to pay for, for his entire life.
It not a question of if, but when they come for you and for me. At some point, our founders reached this same conclusion.
The S will HTF asthe nation collapses into a quagmire as we default on our debt. Things will get very ugly before they get better.
So keep your powderdry and at least 6 months of sustenance tucked away and know who your friends are.
Death to Tyrants!