It looks like the Sheriff’s Department has dumped a large stash of documents in addition to the video they released last night, though the search warrants and affidavits are still apparently sealed. The Arizona Daily Star has a write-up.
From the Daily Star report, it looks to me like there’s strong evidence some members of Jose Guerena’s family were involved in drug activity, and possibly some home invasions, but I don’t see anything in the article that implicates him personally. The list of items seized from his home still doesn’t show anything illegal, and seems to confirm that the alleged “piece of law enforcement clothing” was a Border Control baseball cap.
In an email to me this morning, Mike Storie, the union lawyer, alleges that Jose Guerena had been previously arrested in Pima County, along with several others, and that “drugs and weapons were found.” He writes that Guerena was never charged because he “flipped on a higher-up.” An online records search doesn’t turn up any criminal history for Guerena, but I’m not sure that sort of search would turn up an arrest that never resulted in a charge. I’m looking into this.
According to the Daily Star, there’s also some additional audio from the raid that further contradicts earlier statements from Storie.
Michael Storie, an attorney representing the five SWAT officers who shot at Guerena, said last week that all those officers were separated immediately after the shooting so they could be interviewed and provide objective statements of what happened. The audiotapes reveal that after about 45 minutes, all the SWAT officers are together. They can be heard talking about what happened, according to tape recordings made at the scene.
“That was um, like a movie, the way he jumped out,” said the SWAT team leader.
“Well, he waited, he waited and once Hector came up …” said another SWAT member just before being interrupted by the SWAT leader who said, “What did he say?” Hector is the name of one of the SWAT officers.
Two other voices say they “couldn’t hear anything” and that they didn’t know if Jose Guerena said anything before the shooting began.
“He yelled something, ‘I got something for you’ or something,” the SWAT leader told them, according to the audiotapes.
The Sheriff’s Department said previously that Guerena said something as he pointed his gun at officers.
“I just started boom, boom, boom, boom,” said another voice on the tape.
“Yeah, we were all out of ammo when we got back,” the SWAT leader said.
Storie said police statements about Guerena’s “I’ve got something for you” utterance just before his death was credible because the cops were separated immediately after the shooting, and that they couldn’t possibly have collaborated on a story. This doesn’t mean Guerena didn’t say it. It does mean that Storie was wrong about there being no opportunity for collaboration.
Next, in my column I noted that a couple sources told me that another home near the Guerenas’ had been mistakenly raided the morning of the shooting. I didn’t see the local news report below at the time, which is an account of that incident. If this is true, it wasn’t a mistaken raid, but I’m not sure it makes them look much better.
It appears that after they fired all of their ammunition into the Guerena home, the SWAT team found that at least one of their bullets had also penetrated a nearby house. So as a precaution, they also broke down the door to that house to see if anyone inside had been injured. Note too the end of the report, which states that other neighbors also say they never heard an announcement.
Finally, a bleg of sorts. I see that in the comments, some military folks have weighed in on the tactical skills (or lack thereof) depicted by the SWAT team in the video of the raid . I’m looking for someone who has ample military experience in these kinds of raids who would be willing to evaluate the video on the record. Drop me an email if that’s you.