More From Pima County

Friday, May 27th, 2011

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.

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26 Responses to “More From Pima County”

  1. #1 |  Jonathan | 

    I wanted to make a sarcastic response, but this thing is just too sad. I’m glad you’re digging into this tragedy, Mr. Balko.

  2. #2 |  sigh | 

    “That was um, like a movie, the way he jumped out,”

    … From the team leader? Seriously? This is the sort of observation dweeby cubicle-dwelling IT workers make after seeing something like this happen. That’s just weird.

  3. #3 |  Brandon | 

    Even if you took the Pima County scum at their word, this would just be another reason to end the hideous war on drugs.

  4. #4 |  BoscoH | 

    Mark my words. The key lesson from this debacle will be to never hire a lawyer named “Storie”. Homeboy is demonstrating a bit of a tendency to make crap up.

    I get the feeling he and the Sheriff have never been to the big city. Why the hell is he emailing Mr. Balko? He’s gonna hang himself and his clients. Watching this unfold feels like slowing down the car to watch an orgy break out after a multi-car accident.

  5. #5 |  Mike T | 

    I’m having a hard time buying the story that a USMC combat veterans who’s “gone over to the dark side” is going to face a group of men with an AR15 that’s not ready to go. If he thought it was other criminals, it just sounds incredibly odd that that close to the border… with all of the reports about cartel activity, he wouldn’t have been ready to lay waste to his “rivals.”

    He clearly didn’t think it was a group of Mormon missionaries rehearsing their sales pitch before knocking on his door. It just doesn’t add up.

  6. #6 |  Eddie H | 

    Could the “investigator” have asked any more leading questions? Five will get you ten that when he questions a suspect he doesn’t ask questions like, “And because you made entry into the house, to secure it, to make sure there was no parties injured and you happened to see the deceased suspect.” hell, at one point the “investigator” lets Krygier finish the question for him.

    Real objective questioning.

    And they did not have their sirens on “going on” while they moved towards the door. He makes it sound like they spent a considerable time identifying themselves and waiting for a response. They didn’t even wait one damn minute.

    There are so many holes in Krygier’s statement you could drive one of his beloved BearCat’s right through it.

  7. #7 |  bigjohn756 | 

    It’s clear to me that the SWAT team over reacted. I’m sure that, with some restraint, they could have shot Guerena 59 times with a similar result.

  8. #8 |  JdL | 

    Would you share Mike Storie’s e-mail address? I’m sure many here would like to drop him a line, telling him how much we appreciate his efforts to smear the dead Mr. Guerena.

  9. #9 |  Stephen | 

    Wait a minute! If one of their stray bullets hits your house, they get to break in?

    Almost like a nuclear fission reaction. Break into one house, stray bullet hits 2nd house, cops break into 2nd house and find armed homeowner, they blast homeowner 60-70 times, bullets hit two more houses, cops break into house #3 and #4 and maybe blast some more.

  10. #10 |  liquidflorian | 

    I play airsoft and I’ve seen better CQB tactics used in plastic warfare then in that video. They didn’t even make entry they just shot…

  11. #11 |  Tucson No-Knock Raid that killed U.S. Marine Jose Guerena [Video] - Page 11 - INGunOwners | 

    […] Radley Balko has a bit more on the matter. Apparently, the smear campaign is still ongoing and the SWAT cops DID have time to get together and get their story straight. More From Pima County | The Agitator […]

  12. #12 |  What Does the SWAT Marine Data Dump Prove? - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine | 

    […] Radley Balko records an unsubstantiated allegation from Mike Storie, the attorney for the five shooters:  […]

  13. #13 |  Duracomm | 

    Here is one resource for your bleg.

    The Jose Guerena Raid: A Demonstration of Tactical Incompetence

    The Sheriff may as well have sent the Keystone Cops to raid the home. These clowns shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near weapons.

    UPDATE #2: So I asked a certain former Marine I know (combat tour of Fallujah in 2007) what he thought about this particular raid. Here are his thoughts.

    This would be hilarious if a man hadn’t died in the process. Tactically speaking, their raid was foolish, and they are guilty of murder.

    So this SWAT team wanted to “get some?” Great. Go join the Marine Corps and deploy to a foreign country and fight insurgents. You’re supposed to be peace officers, to prevent things like this from happening.

    As it was, Mr. Guerena thought his home was being invaded, and so what would you do in this circumstance? Well, you go get a weapon and post up. You send rounds down range to protect your family.

    Mr. Guerena even had the good discipline not to do that. This whole incident was evil.

  14. #14 |  Hal_RTFLC | 

    Once again, I find myself asking: if they thought this guy was a crook and had been monitoring his behavior, why didn’t they surround his car when he got home from work instead of going with the raid.

  15. #15 |  KBCraig | 

    Hey, Mr. Franco is wearing “an item of police clothing” — I bet he’s next on the list.

    So, is the official story now back to this being a drug investigation? First it was, then it became an investigation into a home invasion ring posing as police.

    Oh, and how in the hell did this Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight manage to hit a house [i]across the street[/i]?

  16. #16 |  ceanf | 

    just read the transcripts. and i don’t believe a damn thing these pigs claim happened. they pig being interviewed appears like he is making shit up as he goes. they claim to ‘know’ about all these criminal activities he is involved in yet offers not the slightest bit of support for those claims. it is all standard leo bullshit. this literally makes me sick to my stomach. god help this poor family, they will be in my prayers.

    and as for the sick fucks that authorized and pulled off this state sanctioned murder, they could all die tomorrow in the worst possible way and i would not care at all. if fact i would probably crack a smile and thank karma. i am fighting the urge within myself to wish that bad things (i.e. death) happen to these horrible excuses for human beings. i hope this shit haunts them for the rest of their pathetic lives.

  17. #17 |  Police Kill Ex-Marine in Raid – ArizonaMedical Marijuana | 


  18. #18 |  “This whole incident was evil.” [Darleen Click] UPDATED | 

    […] Radley Balko pursues the story. Glad this is on his radar. However, he asserts in another post covering yet another FUBAR raid […]

  19. #19 |  No, It It’s Because of the Drugs | The Agitator | 

    […] Wisdom blogger Dalreen Click links to the video of the Pima County raid, and writes: Radley Balko pursues the story. Glad this is on his radar. However, he asserts in another post covering yet another FUBAR […]

  20. #20 |  johnny gee | 

    Nobody seems to be too concerned with the search warrant in this instance. I understand that it was a blanket warrant for the whole neighborhood? How is that possible? , and if it was, that means the police had no idea of who or what they were looking for. Let alone this particular individual. So how could they have suspected him of anything before they got there. Release the warrant to the public!

  21. #21 |  Kevin | 

    Is this the sort of analysis you were looking for?

    The Guerena Shooting: Initial Analysis

  22. #22 |  Greg | 

    Though my sources are very reputable (and likely because they are reputable) they all have fear of losing their impending retirement money and/or endangering their loved ones.

    I’ve tried to get merely one of my credentialled compadres on the record, and they just know too much about how the machine works to do so.


  23. #23 |  Arizona Police Kill Ex-Marine in Raid « Kind Buds Collective | 

    […] New information, courtesy of Radley […]


    […] The Agitator from Radney Balko on May 27th, 2011, regarding the SWAT raid. A link to the SWAT raid tape is available. Read the comments on both referenced pages! […]

  25. #25 |  Stephen Powell | 

    Since there was no wrongdoing on anyone’s part, I suggest, in a spirit of benevolence, that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department take up a collection for Jose Guerena’s widow and children. 

    Maybe some putty to fill in the bullet holes in her home and pizza for the kids?

    Stephen Powell
    Central, South Carolina

  26. #26 |  Stories of consensual crime enforcement | Nobody's Business | 

    […] May 27: Radley Balko posts more about the Pima drug raid. […]