Jesus H. Christ. How have I missed this story? From Radley Balko:
On May 5 at around 9:30 a.m., several teams of Pima County, Ariz., police officers from at least four different police agencies armed with SWAT gear and an armored personnel carrier raided at least four homes as part of what at the time was described as an investigation into alleged marijuana trafficking. One of those homes belonged to 26-year-old Jose Guerena and his wife, Vanessa Guerena. The couple’s 4-year-old son was also in the house at the time. Their 6-year-old son was at school.
As the SWAT team forced its way into his home, Guerena, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, armed himself with his AR-15 rifle and told his wife and son to hide in a closet. As the officers entered, Guerena confronted them from the far end of a long, dark hallway. The police opened fire, releasing more than 70 rounds in about 7 seconds, at least 60 of which struck Guerena. He was pronounced dead a little over an hour later.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department initially claimed Guerena fired his weapon at the SWAT team. They now acknowledge that not only did he not fire, the safety on his gun was still activated when he was killed. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home. After ushering out his wife and son, the police refused to allow paramedics to access Guerena for more than hour, leaving the young father to bleed to death, alone, in his own home.
According to the Arizona Daily Star,
Vanessa Guerena says she heard noise outside their home about 9 a.m. Thursday and woke her husband who had just gone to bed after working a 12-hour shift at the Asarco Mine, she said. There were no sirens or shouts of “police,” she said.
Guerena told his wife and son to hide inside a closet and he grabbed the AR-15 rifle, his wife said.
The department says SWAT members were clear when identifying themselves while entering the home.
“Tucson is notorious for home invasions and we didn’t want to look like that,” said Lt. Michael O’Connor of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. “We went lights and sirens and we absolutely did not do a ‘no-knock’ warrant.”
When five SWAT members broke through the front door Guerena was crouched down pointing the gun at them, said O’Connor.
“The suspect said, ‘I’ve got something for you,’ when he saw them,” O’Connor said. Guerena’s wife denied he said that.
Deputies began shooting.
This is tragic, of course, but the important thing is that the state protect its citizens from marijuana.
Jesus H. Christ.