An Arizona SWAT team raided the home of Jose Guerena on May 5 and shot him dead. Nothing illegal was found, and Guerena didn't fire a shot. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Earlier this month, a 26-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps, Jose Guerena, was shot dead in a SWAT raid on his home. It has been determined that Guerena, an Iraq war veteran of two tours, did not fire on police officers who entered his home on a search warrant. The validity of the search is being called into question.

SWAT shoots Marine veteran multiple times

On May 5, SWAT officers of the Pima County Sheriffs office arrived at the home of Jose Guerena to serve out a search warrant. When the officers entered the house, according to CNN, they found him holding an AR-15 rifle and they opened fire. The number of times he was hit is being disputed; CNN reports he was shot 22 times, but other sources such as ABC are reporting he was shot 60 times. Guerena hadn’t fired a shot and the safety on his rifle was on. Vanessa Guerena, his wife, called paramedics, but the police prevented them from entering the home until after he had died.

Nothing in the home merited arrest

The police obtained a warrant for entering the Guerenas’ home on the suspicion that Jose Guerena had been part of a drug smuggling and robbery ring. He is alleged to have taken part in a series of home invasions, using assault weapons and wearing paramilitary style clothing. Guns, body armor and a “piece of law enforcement-style clothing” were found in the home, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Mike Storie, the attorney for the SWAT officers, according to KGUN Tuscon, has been quoted as saying that Guerena had nothing in his home that would have been cause to arrest him. The Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, has been critical of the press for asking questions about the shooting and whether it was legal. Immediately after the shooting occurred, Dupnik said that Guerena had fired at officers, but he later admitted that Guerena hadn’t.

Paramedics detained for an hour

Within two minutes of the shooting of Jose Guerena, paramedics arrived on the scene. However, the officers at the scene prevented emergency medical personnel from entering the home and seeing Guerena for more than an hour, long after he was dead. The home also had a portrait of Jesus Malverde, considered a “patron saint” of drug runners. Malverde, according to Wikipedia, may not have actually existed but occupies a similar place in folklore to American outlaws of the Wild West like Jesse James or Billy the Kid. It still isn’t known whether there were any drugs in the house, and nothing illegal was found in the initial search. Guerena had two children, ages 6 and 4, and worked for the Asarco copper mine.



Arizona Daily Star:

KGUN Tuscon:


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