New America Media, Commentary, Raul Ramos y Sanchez
Why did Arizona kill Jose Guerena, 26, Marine veteran of Iraq & Afghanistan?
Why did Pima County, Arizona cops break into the home of Jose Guerena and kill him?
Why did 60 police bullets pierce the body of this war veteran who had served honorably twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan?
What was Jose Guerena suspected of doing that resulted in his summary execution by the police?
Why did Pima County police prevent medics from reaching Jose for one hour and 15 minutes as he lay dying on the floor of his Tucson home?
Why did 911 medics not arrive with emergency medical assistance to help Jose?
After Jose died, why did the Pima County Sheriff's office tell lies to slander Jose's good name? Why did they lie about their own actions? And, why did they lie about his?
After killing him, why did Pima County, Arizona cops go to the copper mine where Jose worked to search his locker? Did a judge in Pima County sign the warrant after the police had killed Jose in an attempt to justify what the police had done?
Why is Pima County hiding the search warrant and all other details of the raid on the home of this coal miner three weeks after county cops killed him?
What happened to the public information law and the public's right to know?
With the exception of ABC 20/20 which did no original reporting and simply rehashed what its pro-law enforcement local affiliate turned up, why hasn't there been even one story about the death of Jose Guerena in any major news media outside of Tucson in the three weeks since Jose was gunned down?
Why is Pima County investigating itself? Why haven't state and federal authorities stepped in to find out why Jose Guerena's sons will grow up without their father?
The widow and two small sons of Jose Guerena have no answers to these questions three weeks after they buried him.
Is the life of one Mexican-American worth less than the lives of others?
After serving honorably twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine, Jose Guerena got a good job in the Asarco copper mine, 18 miles south of Tucson in Pima County, Arizona. But his shift at the mine was long.
In the hours before he died, Jose had worked a 12-hour-graveyard shift at the Mission Mine. After arriving home, he went to bed. Two hours later at about 9:15 am, his wife, Vanessa, heard noise outside their home and she peered out the window to check. Their older boy, Jose, Jr. was at school, and their younger son, Joel, 4, was with Vanessa as she spotted gun men outside the couple's home. Jose was in the bedroom asleep. Vanessa called, "Jose, Jose, come quickly."
Still groggy and no doubt still tired, Jose came when his wife called.
The couple's concern was evident. Vanessa thought the intruders were part of a home invasion. Two members of her sister-in-law's family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, were killed last year in their Tucson home.
Hearing the concern in his wife's voice, Jose told Vanessa to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son. He picked up his AR-15 rifle as is his right in gun-loving Arizona.
At no time during Vanessa's 911 call, did she say that police had shot her husband, only that he had been shot repeatedly. In an interview shortly after he died, Vanessa said neither she nor Jose knew who was making noise outside their home. The police, a SWAT team, did not announce themselves, Vanessa said, until after they'd shot Jose.
Jose's co-worker, mudracer, speaks of his friend:
As a friend and co-worker you get to know the person you work next too, you learn about who they are aboout their personal life about their wife and children and what they stand for. This man is no criminal, he is one of the nicest person that i have worked with, the only way i can describe what happened is he he put in a long hard 12 hour grave yard shift as a miner and beleive when i say hard i mean hard work. He went home greeted is family like any father would do took a shower and went to bed. They he was rudely awaken by officers invading his home without announcing that they were law inforcement. He did what any father would do is arm himself to protect his family. He was a marine in my eyes he is a hero. I beleive if officers would have knocked on his door he would opened it with zero confortation and he would be alive today. The sheriffs department has been to our place of work to search his locker sounds to me they are fishing for something that does not exsist. Jose we miss you and our prayers go out to your family, God Bless.
Jason Ogan, spokesperson with PCSD, said that when deputies finally entered the home, "Guerena started firing with a long rifle. Deputies fired back, fatally wounding him."
Like much else about this killing, what the official said was an elaborate but transparent lie:
Deputies said that he opened fire on the officers which forced them to fire back, killing Guerena. The bulletproof shield that officers were carrying took the brunt of the bullets. They were not hurt."We are trained to always be on alert because you never know when a scenario is going to change. We don't always know what the bad guy is going to do."said Pima County Deputy, Jason Ogan. "The SWAT team is used deliberately for high risk type warrants, this met that criteria and that's why the SWAT team served the warrant."
Police doing what police do!
Jose Guerena Killed: Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid
by Radley Balko
Why was Latino ex-Marine shot 60 times by Arizona SWAT team?
by Being Latino Contributors
Arizona SWAT Team Shoots Latino Former Marine Dozens of Times
by Thoai Lu
Shot 60 Times!? Arizona SWAT Team Kills Marine In Botched Raid
By Casey Gane-McCalla
Another Latino has been shot dead in an Arizona home invasion – and the national media is once again ignoring the story. It happened on May 5 and the news is only now surfacing outside the Arizona media through citizen journalism on blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
According to the Arizona Daily Star...
“José Guerena, 26, a former Marine, was sleeping after the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission mine about 9:30 a.m. when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife has said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.”
Guerena was shot 60 times by members of the Pima Regional SWAT team. His bullet riddled body was found by his wife Vanessa and their four-year-old son, Joel. “Mom, my dad was a bad guy? What did my dad do?'" asked Joel according to Vanessa. Her desperate 911 call to save her husband’s life was recorded on a chilling YouTube video.
The explanation by the Pima County Sheriff’s office for the home invasion has changed since the May 5 shooting. First reports by the Sheriff’s office were that the SWAT team’s mission was to break up a suspected drug ring and that Guerena fired his weapon before the SWAT team fired back. That story was later reversed when it was discovered the safety on Guerena's AR-15 was still locked. The motive for the SWAT team’s mission was then changed by the Sheriff’s office, which now says that "someone in the home" had been suspected of a connection with a home invasion robbery ring. The search warrant and court documents that would reveal what the SWAT team was looking for in Guerena's home have been sealed by a judge and are unavailable to the public.
No drugs, cash or criminal evidence of any kind were found in the home. Neither José nor his wife Vanessa has a criminal record. In an attempt to discredit Guerena’s character, a lawyer for the AZCOPS law-enforcement union, Michael Storie, told the media that rifles, handguns, body armor and a portion of a law-enforcement uniform were found inside the house where José Guerena was shot. However, Storie was forced to admit that if SWAT members had entered the home without incident, those inside "probably ... wouldn't have been arrested."
Ironically, Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik was highly critical of right wing talk radio following the Tucson shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in January, saying that Arizona had become "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry" thanks to the “vitriol” spread by far-right pundits. Sheriff Dupnik is now stonewalling requests for more details about the case but implied Guerena should not have resisted.
Although virtually ignored by the national media, most Latinos in Arizona know about the 2009 home invasion by Shawna Forde and her Minutemen accomplices posing as Border Patrol agents that led to the shooting death of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father. So it’s not surprising José Guerena would have reached for his rifle to defend his family.
Guerena served two tours of duty as a decorated Marine in Iraq. He returned from service no doubt grateful to have survived the firefights in that war-torn nation. In a cruel twist of fate, he would die in a hail of bullets in his own home.
This tragic story is shocking and sad. Sadder still is that this tragedy has found no "bounce" in the national media. Had this two-hitch Iraq veteran been named Grady instead of Guerena, I think it would have made headlines across the country.
No federal investigation of the actions by the Pima County SWAT team is planned at this time. And without any significant national media coverage of this questionable incident, that is likely how it will remain.
Raul Ramos y Sanchez is the award-winning author of the novels AMERICA LIBRE and HOUSE DIVIDED from Grand Central Publishing as well as the host of MyImmigrationStory.com. For more information visit www.RaulRamos.com.
Do Pima County officials believe they can get away with lying?
Pima County cops kept right on lying even after their fake story collapsed.
The "safety" was still set on Jose's personal weapon proving that he had not fired even one shot.
Deputies said that he opened fire on the officers which forced them to fire back, killing Guerena. The bulletproof shield that officers were carrying took the brunt of the bullets. They were not hurt.How dare they make that claim? Did they think anyone would forget what they said?
Pima County deputies did not have the courage --or the honor-- to take responsibility for killing a Marine in cold blood in his home with his family present. Instead of admitting they were scared-- if they were scared that he would shoot them -- their first line of defense was to slander him.
Pima County Sheriff's Department Has No Honor
Instead of apologizing to his widow and sons, they hired a hot-shot lawyer to disrespect the family with an attack on the character of a man whom his family had longed to see while he served overseas in two long wars-- a man who had no criminal record and whose only brush with law enforcement was traffic tickets.
How do we know the Pima County Sheriff's spokesman lied?
On May 12, seven days after they killed Jose, the Sheriff's office finally admitted the safety was locked and Jose Guerena had not fired.
The agony of Vanessa pleading with a 911 operator to send help to her husband comes through in the long and painful five minutes she spent on the phone begging for help that never came.
Interviewed in the farm town of Oquitoa across the border in the Mexican state of Sonora, not far Tucson, Jose's family can not understand why U.S. police killed Jose. They say he was an honorable man who protected his family from harm.
Why do cops know that when they kill people of color, odds are they will get away with it even when the person killed is a small child?
Will the taking of the life of Jose Guerena be just another run-of-the-mill example of police killing civilians with no responsibility attached?
Will the public be taxed when the county winds up settling with the family for what the police did?
Will the police who did this continue on the public payroll? Will they ever show that they are honorable men who accept responsibility for killing Jose?
Why is there two levels of justice in the United States? One for the wealthy and another for eveyone else? Would SWAT have gunned down a man in a wealthy neighborhood?
Why does there continue to be particular disrespect for people of color by law enforcement, 40 years after civil rights legislation became the law of the land?
When will the war on drugs end so that the government will stop killing innocents like Jose Guerena?
This is the coverage I have been able to find, including despicable statements uttered by the hot-shot lawyer the cops hired as a mouthpiece, words that will serve only to pour vinegar into the open wounds of the widow, Vanessa Guerena.
While the national media has pretty much ignored this story in favor of reporting every time Palin picks her nose or Trump scratches his ass, they have remained silent on a story that matters, one that would take a bit of bravery to investigate and report.
Arizona SWAT Team Defends Shooting Iraq Vet 60 Times Attacking the messenger, weak and pitiful as it is, this reflects the brazen arrogance of Arizona law enforcement:
... In a statement, the sheriff's office criticized the media, saying that while questions will inevitably be raised, "It is unacceptable and irresponsible to couch those questions with implications of secrecy and a coverup, not to mention questioning the legality of actions that could not have been taken without the approval of an impartial judge."Mike Storie, a lawyer for the SWAT team, said at a press conference Thursday that weapons and body armor were found in the home as well as a photo of Jesus Malverde, who Storie called a "patron saint drug runner," according to KGUN.
Storie defended the long delay in allowing paramedics to enter the home, saying of the SWAT team, "They still don't know how many shooters are inside, how many guns are inside and they still have to assume that they will be ambushed if they walk in this house."
But Scileppi, Vanessa Guerena's lawyer, said officers were "circling their wagons."
A photograph? Really? Really. Jose Guerena died because of a picture under his bed that cops interpreted as sympathetic to drug running? That he had guns in his house and body armor, so what? Who in Arizona doesn't? What Marine veteran doesn't?
None of what the cops took from Jose's home was illegal. Where were the drugs they were supposed to find? Where was the drug money? Bet on this: if they'd found anything, anything at all, the cops' official mouthpieces would be shouting it from the rooftops.
An unexpected death and unjust, very painful for those of us who loved him.
Why was Latino ex-Marine shot 60 times by Arizona SWAT team? by Raul Ramos y Sanchez.
Replay of the 911 tape. Heartbreaking.
Tucson newspaper account of Vanessa's call to 911. (the text)
Finally some sanity:
Oath Keepers to Protest Killing of Jose Guerena on May 30:
He died with his safety still on. He didn't fire a shot. The Pima County, Arizona (Sheriff Dupnik's department), SWAT Team fired 71 rounds at him, hitting him with approximately 60 rounds. He had no criminal record. The only justification given by the Sheriff's spokesman for using SWAT to serve the warrant was that it was a search warrant in a narcotics conspiracy investigation (with three other homes searched in the same neighborhood), and that this is their policy when the home-owner may be armed.This policy of using SWAT to serve mere search warrants on people with no violent criminal history will lead to more deaths of veterans and other trained American gun owners because a trained man will react precisely the same way this young Marine did.
We must take a stand on this use of SWAT against gun owners and veterans who have no violent crime history, and that stand needs to be a firm one.
Therefore, we are going to rally in Tucson this coming Memorial Day, May 30, 2011 to honor this young Marine's service and to express our opposition to the destruction of our liberty, and our opposition to this policy of using SWAT Teams to serve mere search warrants on gun owners and veterans who have no violent criminal record.
Jose died while medics waited outside, prevented by the deputies from entering the home for over an hour after the shooting. They were not permitted to enter the home until they had already learned Jose was dead.
In a column Saturday, May 21, 2011 by Josh Brodesky of the Arizona Daily Star, the understated headline is this: Tucson deserves to know more about Guerena shooting
Family's lawyer: Authorities trying to discredit man In this article, Vanessa's lawyer says the police have had three weeks to construct their story and asks that records of the case be released immediately. The cops' lawyer continues to disrespect Jose Guerena and his widow.
The SWAT team's story keeps changing. Christopher Scileppi, lawyer for the family of Jose Guerena, says the family wants all the facts to come out now.
In an interview with the pro-gun, pro-law enforcement ABC affiliate, Sheriff spokesman O'Connor says there were raids on four houses that morning and he admits no drugs or paraphernalia had been found at Jose's house. He also does not connect Jose to the homes where drugs turned up.
Waldman: "Can you say if that was the residence where the shooting happened?"O'Connor: "No, it was one of the four, but it was not that residence."
Waldman: "In that specific residence, did you find anything related to drugs, drug money, in that specific residence."
O'Connor: "We found information that was pertinent to this drug conspiracy case, yes. I'm not going to go into details on what those things were. But it was connecting material to the drug conspiracy."
O'Connor left it to the cops' lawyer to say what was found AND at no point did O'Connor or the cops' lawyer tie Jose Guerena to any of the others where warrants were served that morning.
If the Pima County Sheriff's department had one tenth of the honor and integrity of the innocent man they killed, they would admit what they did and they would stop slandering Jose and his young family.
Interview with Vanessa by pro-gun ABC affiliate, KGUN.
Pro-gun site writes fluff sucking up to the cops about just how wonderful it is to be part of the SWAT team. (Article is about the city SWAT team and it was the county SWAT cops who killed Jose. Don't know if there is cross-over. Still, ya gotta figure how crap like this immediately following Jose's death affects his family.)
There's some duplication in this file and I am sorry for that.