The tale of dead US Marine Jose Guerena took a twisted turn earlier this week as the Pima County Sheriff Department (yes, the same department that handled the case of Arizona US Representative Gabrielle Giffords) released what it claims to be evidence surrounding the incident that riddled Guerena’s body with 60 bullets in his Tucson home.
The most controversial release was the official video of the shooting, shown here:
In addition, Pima County claims that Guerena was part of a larger drug conspiracy involving the Marine and his brother. As several sources report, Guerena had no drugs in his home and several questions have been raised about this botched raid. Here is one source’s report and a video about its findings:
The Pima County Sheriff’s Office released a report that says the 26-year-old Iraqi War veteran grabbed but never fired his semiautomatic rifle. Officers shot him 22 times. Some of the officers claimed he did.
His young son and his wife who called 911 were inside when it took place.
Since then, questions have mounted about whether deadly force was justified and whether the Guerenas understood it was police, not invaders storming their home.
“I saw this guy like pointing me at the window so I got scared and I got like, um, please don’t shoot I have a baby,” said Vanessa Guerena.
Now the sheriffs department has released video of the crucial minutes when they say warnings were sounded.
The General Council for the Police Union, Mike Stories describes what SWAT team members say happened next.
“Guerena makes eye contact with these officers who are in gear that says police, the shield says police, their helmets say police, they have patches that say police,” says Stories. “He makes eye contact with them raises his weapon and points it right at these officers.”
Hundreds of pages of investigation documents detail what officers say they ultimately found inside the home. They found body armor and a large number of weapons but no huge cache of drugs or money.
Guerena family attorney Chris Scileppi released a statement in response saying, “We just learned that the sheriff’s department has released voluminous amounts of information in regard to this incident we will review the documents and CDs and will make ourselves available for comment in the near future.
Guerena’s wife says he was not involved with drug dealing. Scileppi says the sheriff’s department has tried to defame Guerena and paints a different picture of a man with no criminal record, who had worked for a mining company since leaving the marine corps five years ago.
Sheriff officials say their internal investigation continues into the chaotic minutes that led to Guerena’s death. Deputies involved in the shooting remain on active duty while the investigation is under way.
Supporters of his family who have been critical of the department have announced a march to the scene of the shooting on Memorial Day.
Guerena was a husband and a father of two.
A report out of Mexico, though unsubstantiated, claims that Guerena was mistaken for a terrorist. Here is the video in Spanish: