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Video: Ariz. SWAT Shooting Settled for $3.4M

September 24, 2013  | 

VIDEO: SWAT Team's Fatal Raid of Ariz. Marine

Pima County, Ariz., has agreed to settle a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a Marine who pointed a gun at SWAT officers during a raid two years ago. County officials say they'll pay $3.4 million to end a two-year legal battle.

The settlement closes out the county's dispute with Vanessa Guerena, the widow of a former Marine, Jose, who died in a barrage of police gunfire on May 5, 2011. The settlement also includes Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita, which had officers in the raid, reports the Arizona Daily Star.

SWAT team members had arrived at the home of Jose Guerena, 26, southwest of Tucson after receiving information in a narcotics investigation that he may be involved in drug trafficking.

Guerena was killed during the raid while holding an AR-15 rifle. Officers fired 71 shots; 22 struck Guerena.

A Pima County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman told the Daily Star the agency disagrees with the settlement because even though the shooting was tragic, officers "performed that day in accordance with their training and nationally recognized standards." The county's administrator called he agreement a "calculated risk-management settlement."

The officers were cleared in June of 2011, when Chief Criminal Deputy Attorney David Berkman released a report concluding officers needed to "take immediate action to stop the deadly threat against them."

Comments (20)

Displaying 1 - 20 of 20

Bo Powers @ 9/24/2013 3:03 PM


Bman @ 9/24/2013 3:15 PM

Wow! This is crap. Those officers were more than justified in their actions. Those tax payers should be furious with their County Manager and legal council.

Trigger @ 9/24/2013 3:55 PM

I wonder if the dead guy would have had to pay $3.4 million if he had shot and killed a cop??

Rick @ 9/24/2013 3:55 PM

From everything I read in the media about this story, the Marine was not involved in anything illegal, was asleep when his wife woke him about intruders outside, then when SWAT broke in, he held his fire because he wasn't sure what was going on, but didn't want to drop his weapon. Apparently the investigation showed that he wasn't involved in narcotics otherwise the PD wouldn't be settling for millions of dollars. At least this man's wife and daughter will be taken care of.

jake @ 9/24/2013 4:18 PM

Now the wife can upgrade her car to a ferrari and buy a mansion.

Sir! @ 9/24/2013 4:25 PM

I guess it costs to get rid of POS of the street! But 3.4M?

Sir! @ 9/24/2013 4:26 PM

It costs $$$$ to get rid of POS off the street! That's the world we live in.

chris @ 9/24/2013 7:59 PM

I use of force being appropriate or not has nothing to do whether or not the guy was involved in narcotics.the officers were legally allowed to be there and the marine had no business pointing a rifle at them. Its a unfortunate situation but the officers are not at fault.

Lenny @ 9/24/2013 8:01 PM

Finally 1 for the good guys. Or 3.4 million for the good guys.
I doubt anyone of the officers has ever even apologized to the widow or her child.
For those of you who find this settlement so outrageous

1 Pima Detective Alex Tisch had claimed that Guerena had "five felony arrests involving drugs" but no convictions,
which was an absolute lie.

2 Guerena' widow has stated that two members of her sister-in-law's family were killed previously in a home invasion, both adults were killed and the child seriously injured. This may have led to a heightened level of anxiety for the inhabitants. Not surprisingly the case is unsolved.

3 Initially four officers unloaded and then, a fifth joined in the barrage. A total of 71 shots were fired by swat in 7 seconds, nice controlled bursts from people obviously frightened and out of control.

4 The officers refused the deceased medical attention and somehow utilized 2 separate robots to investigate.

Lenny @ 9/24/2013 8:03 PM

Somehow, clearing the house took 1 hour and 14 minutes.

5 Officers lied in their initial reports that they saw muzzle flashes and doorjam splinters breaking from gunshots,
from the deceased weapon.
The deceased gun was never fired and the safety was engaged and the splinters all came from "friendly
fire". The only man who had his safety on and thought to investigate rather than open up is the deceased.

6 The sherrif asked a judge to seal the warrant and documents showing what items were seized, to protect
the identity of a "confidential informant", and criticized the press for wanting the details. They were later
released, but redacted.

7 Nothing illegal was found. No illegal activities were evidenced. A total of 38 seconds passed between parking the
vehicle and the execution squad doing their business. As word of this action spread Pima County tried to lessen
the blow by naming Jose in a drug indictment shared by his brothers in a poorly veiled attempt to disparage him, his wife

Lenny @ 9/24/2013 8:04 PM

and children. "This, after the police barged into their home with apparent little regard or care for human life, shooting wildly with handguns and a high-powered ballistic rifle more than seventy times mere feet away from Mrs. Guerena and their 4-year-old boy.”

8 Police claimed to have been investigating Jose and his relatives for 2 years, yet their own affidavit admits: “During the SIU surveillance concerning the aforementioned subjects [that is, Jose and the others], they were not observed handling or even in the proximity of narcotics.”

Now these are all just facts that are in the public domain which I researched, unlike most who post on here who's investigative techniques seem to be "I thought" and "an older boy told me".
A fine young man executed for maybe somehow, somewhere, sometime, being involved in drugs. Someone who actually seflessly served his country and truly put himself in harms way everyday. Unfortunately both of his names end in vowels and this is Arizona.

Lenny @ 9/24/2013 8:04 PM

I'm sure the officers involved have all been promoted and long since forgotten this incident.

House @ 9/24/2013 8:22 PM

I doubt you work in public safety rick, so lemme explain a few things. first, most swat teams across the country try real hard not to get the wrong house. it tends to lead to things such as this. and if they do most teams take steps to minimize casualties. don't know if you watched the vid, but the team does this thing called breaching. blasting this very loud siren, yelled in English (and Spanish) who they were/what they were doing several times, paused after actually breaching the door itself. rick how many bad guys do those kinds of things? well its a possibility the guy just happens to keep his ar-15 close by and maybe he was hearing impaired so he didn't hear any of that noise...but come on rick. thats just not how the world works. you didn't read THIS article right, let alone anything else. the PD didn't settle the county/heads did. who knows why. we may never know. but if he was a innocent well to do guy, this story would've gone global don't you think? blues stay safe

House @ 9/24/2013 8:31 PM

Lenny, your posts are very detailed, rich, and filled with a lot of interesting facts and statements/liberal bleeding heart opinions/bs. some of the terms your using give you away as a lawyer/anarchist/liberal. sorry, between unloading/deceased weapon/apologizing (after pointing an AR-15 at them dudes) please read my above post to rick, and have a nice day!

jwebb714 @ 9/25/2013 5:17 AM

I thought George killed Lenny in "Of Mice and Men."
Lenny are you still pinching the heads off mice?

Ordinary Joe @ 9/25/2013 5:58 AM

@ House. I have and still am employed in Public Safety. Probably many more years than you. After review of this case, I have to side with Lenny and Rick. Might I suggest that you find a different profession? That thin blue line only stretches so far. It does not cover bad judgement and inappropriate use of force, ever. If you watched the videos and read the reports, you would see that the "team" was, in my opinion less than prepared to make a dynamic entry. Sloppy work and a citizen got killed. Then they tried to cover their mistakes. And you want to know why citizens do not trust or respect police?

jwebb @ 9/25/2013 6:53 AM

Dear Ordinary Joe
Thank you for your expert opinion, but meter reader does qualify as Public Safety.
Sorry !

S.S. @ 9/25/2013 9:59 AM

I'm sure we still don't have all the facts on this case. Bottom line is the officers did what they were trained to do as far as this subject having a automatic weapon in his hands while being told to drop the weapon, and him still not complying, was shot and killed. That part of the story is clear. The part where the wife being paid 3.4 million is not clear. So to the douchebags Rick, Lenny and ordinary Joe you all are full of sh** so stop making up your own facts about this story. None of you are NOT and hopefully never will be LEO's. So please stay off the site!!!

House @ 9/26/2013 6:23 AM

@Ordinaryjoe your STILL employed? you must be close to retirement Captain Sir, after soooo long riding a desk you don't get the big picture Captain Sir. In your eyes yes your correct, because the agency/city/county/chief/sheriff come first. and a huge mess like this rattles you 90k a year Monday-Friday gig you've had for 20 years. the guys on the ground...the worker bees if you will....(like me) look at it like this...we don't wanna get killed by a dude with an AR-15 after we toldem to drop it. but your either so far removed from that environment you have no fing idea what it is anymore. but hey enjoy your retirement Major sir, pretty soon you wont be able to post your worthless-Monday-morning-quarterback-
administration opinion on sites like this and collect 90k a year/ wow what are you gonna do? I bet you tell war stories from the 80's about stuff you did for 2 years before you rode a desk the rest of your career to people who are awed when you tell your a retired retarded captain!

House @ 9/26/2013 6:25 AM

@jwebb are you fourteen years old? you remind me of the kid on xmas story who goes "oh yeah" and "that's right punk" every time the bully says something. this site is for grown ups kid. get lost and get a job.

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