Published May 27, 2011
A Marine who was fatally shot in his Arizona home earlier this month never fired upon the SWAT team that fired at him 71 times, according to reports released by police.
Jose Guerena, a 26-year-old father of two and veteran of the Iraq war, died on May 5 in his home near Tucson, Ariz., during an anti-drug police raid. Authorities initially reported that they thought Guerena fired upon them, but an investigation revealed that no shots were fired.
The SWAT team descended upon Guerena's home thinking it was one of four houses associated with a drug smuggling operation. But nothing illegal was found during a subsequent search of the residence.
Guerena’s wife, Vanessa, is determined to clear her husband’s good name. She said the couple's son continues to ask: "Is he a bad guy?"
The five SWAT team members remain on active duty. No criminal charges have been filed and no disciplinary action taken.
Guerena, his brother and another man were listed as suspects in a complex drug investigation being conducted by the Pima County Sheriff's Department, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
More than 500 pages of officers' statements, evidence lists and witness interviews were released by the department, as well as a short video showing Pima County Regional SWAT team members serving the warrant -- and opening fire.
The video, according to the Daily Star, depicts deputies approaching Guerena's home as sirens blared. It also showed deputies announcing themselves before knocking down the front door and firing their guns.
Guerena's wife called 911 begging for medical assistance. But authorities reportedly didn't enter the home for a hour, while they determined the scene was secure. By then, it was too late to save Guerena.