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Why Jose Guerena?

Updated on February 4, 2012

Why Jose Guerena ?

His death was unwarranted


Easily avoidable

A great wrong was committed and nothing is being done to stop it from happening again.

The District Attorney of Pima County found the Sheriff of Pima County’s SWAT group innocent of any wrongdoing, not only justifying this atrocity but declaring this behavior acceptable. As far as I know, there is no other official investigation into his death and the root causes leading up to it.

Key information in the search warrant request was incorrect. Lies could also be another term for it. For example;

After a 20 month investigation they said Jose Guerena was unemployed, when in fact he had been putting in long hours at the Azarco mine for quite a while and making a good income.

The warrant request had the same vehicles owned by the Guerena family listed multiple times as proof of assets, leading to inflated asset results that a simple call to the Department of Motor Vehicles could have disproved.

There are other discrepancies.

To my knowledge there is neither reprimand nor official investigation into Detective Tisch who submitted the false information in the search warrant request.

A proper search warrant is supposed to be precise in the description of what is being looked for and where it is supposed to be located. This improper search warrant request was more in the form of a ‘whatever we find, wherever we look’ type of request.

How can a County Judge, who has exercised due diligence [done their job properly and carefully reviewed all the material] sign a document authorizing an armed breach of a residential home on such questionable evidence? A judge who has taken an Oath of Office? An oath to the Constitution and therefore to the 4th Amendment?

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I do not think the Judge did his/her job properly. I do not think the Judge recalled his/hers personal oath to uphold the Constitution. I do think the search warrant that got Jose Guerena killed was rubberstamped and not critically looked at with at least 3 other SWAT breaches scheduled that day.

What is the penalty for a judge who allows an unnecessary forced entry that gets an innocent Marine killed defending his family? This is an important issue that needs to be asked. A judge should pay a penalty when he misuses the public trust and authorizes the sending of armed men primed for combat into our society without very good reason. To my knowledge there is neither reprimand nor official investigation into the No Name judge who signed the fraudulent search warrant that caused Jose Guerena’s death. Make no misunderstanding about it, the search warrant authorizing the SWAT team is what caused this shooting!

SWAT teams are being overused beyond their intended purpose, which is to target the worst, most dangerous offenders and it is because of judges, like the one who signed Jose Guerena’s search warrant that this is being allowed.

SWAT teams are supposed to be a highly trained cohesive unit focused on specific targets with up to the minute intelligence and preparation, not a pickup team of door to door armed bouncers serving warrants that should be handled in much more civil ways. American ways. The misuse of SWAT teams demeans the peace officers and creates hostility towards all officers from the populace affected by their actions.

I understand the necessity of having proper SWAT teams, trained to go full out in a moment’s notice, to contain certain criminals in our society today. I respect those truly professional teams. However, I do not condone the misuse of SWAT teams to bully occupants that were never a real threat. Whenever you send an armed intrusion force into a home, bad things are likely to happen. Intimidation is no excuse to call a SWAT team. A Judge must be able to tell the difference and adhere to the principals of the Constitution or find another line of work.

Why Jose Guerena?

What is at stake is simply the core values this country is founded on. If one takes the time to investigate how this atrocity came to be, the LEGALITY of it, you will be as surprised as I was by how far off the path our criminal justice system has veered from that laid out by our Founding Fathers. Atrocity?

Yes I do mean atrocity – a definition

a·troc·i·ty (-trs-t)

n. pl. a·troc·i·ties

1. Appalling or atrocious condition, quality, or behavior; monstrousness.

2. An appalling or atrocious act, situation, or object, especially an act of unusual or illegal cruelty inflicted by an armed force on civilians or prisoners.


n pl -ties

1. behaviour or an action that is wicked or ruthless

2. the fact or quality of being atrocious

3. (usually plural) acts of extreme cruelty, esp against prisoners or civilians in wartime

Despite having 71 bullets fired in his direction, Jose Guerena was hit only 22 times, the SWAT did not initiate medical aid and prevented paramedics from doing their jobs. Jose Guerena died alone and untouched. I think atrocity fits. Don’t you?

Our country has been a beacon of light and freedom to the rest of the world. We said to the rest of the world “Look at us, this is how you do it, become a democracy like ours and live the lives of free men and women.” I intend to keep saying just that, as soon as we fix this problem. It can be fixed. The originators of this country left the legislative tools we need to end the needless militarization of our domestic police forces. WE, as Americans, have a right and a duty to use these tools to correct the abuses inflicted on the Constitution since 911. Under the darkened clouds of debris that passed over New York a group of people took advantage of the shock and awe of our nation and pushed thru the [Anti]Patriot Act{s}. Somehow that has led to the abuse of power that got Jose Guerena killed and no one accountable for his death. What has been made by man can be unmade by man. Hope for a return to sanity lies in the Constitution and repealing those acts that harm it. To protect ALL citizens, the further militarization of our domestic police must cease. SWAT teams should only be used when absolutely required and those in power who direct SWAT teams need to be held accountable if their actions result in civillian abuse.

Why Jose Guerena?

His life reflected the American work ethic and his pursuit of the American dream. Our American dream. He joined the Marines, post 911 and married his childhood sweetheart before his first of two deployments to Iraq. He left the service when his time was up and soon had a job at the Azarco mine in Pima County, Arizona. He began raising a family, had two boys and moved his family to a nice house in the suburbs of Tucson, in Valencia West. He had plans for the future, for himself and his family, he was looking into joining with the Border Patrol.

Now those are the basics, the bare bones. I am in no way claiming the man to be a saint. He was a human being and humans are flawed. For all I know he might have kicked the dog a time or two.

I think Jose Guerena was going about it [life] the right way. It appears to me that he was taking the proper steps to be a good citizen and family man. He was giving to the community and reaping the benefits that hard work and dedication are supposed to return. No one had any right bursting into his home. Period. This was overkill and unnecessary. It was a form of terrorist attack. SWAT was called in to those 4 invasions that occurred that day to terrorize, subjugate and humiliate, it was a showoff force. Then something happens, somebody slips, somebody else shoots up a door and Jose Guerena gets 22 bullets in his body.


Not acceptable.

Why Jose Guerena?

After a 10 hour shift at the mine, with a long commute each way, Jose was sleeping. His terrified wife wakes him and tells him that she saw armed men around his home. His training as a 2 tour Iraq Marine kicks in. He tells his wife to take his youngest and and hide in the closet. He pulls out his rifle and places himself between his front door and his family. The SWAT team enters, shoot up a door and fire 71 rounds, some of which go through his back wall into neighboring homes. Jose is critically wounded. Jose never fires, never even disengages the safety on his rifle. The Swat team does not enter and clear the residence like they are supposed to be trained to do. Jose’s wife, Vanessa, comes out of the closet, sees that her husband is shot and franticly calls 911, begging for paramedics. Heartbreaking replays of that call are available on youtube. The SWAT team coaxes his wife out, throw her to the ground, put a boot on her head and hustle her away. Swat still does not enter. Paramedics have arrived within 3 minutes of receiving the 911 distress call and are denied entry by SWAT command. Eventually Jose’s four year old son comes out of the closet. It is possible, that he was the last person to see his father alive. His son wanders out front and the SWAT team snatch him up, but still do not enter the home.

Why Jose Guerena?

Jose Guerena NEVER received medical care. No attempt was made to save his life. SWAT brought in robots to enter the home and prod Jose to see if he was alive, long after paramedics might have saved him. Based on information displayed on a video screen, it was decided that he was no longer alive. Jose Guerena was pronounced dead over a telephone. Atrocious. The former Marine, shot in his own hallway, might well have been treated better in a foreign country.

Why Jose Guerena?

In order to make some sense of this senseless killing, I felt compelled to study it, to learn all about the circumstances surrounding it.

I think, in the back of my mind, I was hoping to find some reasonable reason for these police actions. I was looking for that excuse where I could say “Well, he was a bad guy after all”. I never found it.

Nothing illegal was found in his house. NOTHING.

His post mortem blood test showed NO sign of drugs. He was not a drug user.

He had no police record. Check it.

He is about as clean as a person can get.

And that is a key pillar in publishing ‘Why Jose Guerena?’.

After looking over the situation carefully, I have come to the conclusion that Jose was a decent man cut down in the prime of life.

If it could happen to him, it could happen to any of us and there would be no more penalty for the loss of our lives, or our family’s lives, than there will be for Jose Guerena.

The policies [in defiance of the Constitution] that allowed all this to happen [the faulty search warrant request, the rubberstamping by the judge, the misuse of SWAT teams for intimidation purposes] are all still in place.

I have come to realize that these policies are the result of the passage of the [anti]Patriot Act.

Another needless SWAT team death will happen again unless something is done to stop this madness.

I looked into how often SWAT teams are used, what I found out was simply shocking to me. There are about 150-200 SWAT intrusions EVERYDAY in the United States. 70,000-80,000 a year and increasing. Check it out for yourself, the information is easily accessible. I ran across this particular site;

Which has an interactive map that shows SWAT abuses thruout the United States from 1985-Jan. 2011. Take a moment to look at where you live, where you grew up and where distant family may live. I don’t know what you personally will find, but I was grimly surprised to discover some horrific police actions that have happened not too far from my own home.

Why Jose Guerena

It was LEGAL, because of the [anti]Patriot Acts, for that SWAT team to shoot him down. The Pima county DA found no cause for action and that has been the only investigation of this case to date. Az Attorney General Horne has been silent. The federal government, although there were several civil rights violated, has shown no interest.

Jose Guerena did the right thing. He never fired a shot. He was an innocent man, gravely wronged. There can be no justice for him, as the [anti]Patriot Act laws are being interpreted today.

Is this the proper conduct by a government governed by our Constitution and the 4th amendment? No way. This is just plain wrong. There is no morally valid excuse for this action. The path we are on will only lead to worse consequences. We can protect our nation from terrorists without turning our domestic police forces into terrorists. The original intent [as portrayed to the public] of the [anti]Patriot Acts has been perverted and must be changed.

But how?

I do not know, but I will be looking into it. Jose Guerena is why.

In Memory of Jose Guerena and his Family

A comment on Comments;

I am not a very good moderator. I space out into the ether for long periods. This Hub;

started by my friend Ghost 32, has been following the Guerena atrocity from the beginning and is still an active hub, I highly recommend it.

I am primarily interested in the ways and means in which to change the rules to stop the abuses of the [anti]Patriot Acts. Links to good websites with pertinent information or information about good candidates willing to take a stand, will be greatly appreciated. That all being said, if you care to comment, please write whatever you want.


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    • Elenin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from So Cal

      Gina Joy,

      Your reading and comment are much appreciated. To date [Febuary] no one has been charged with any crime stemming from the four SWAT attacks perpetuated on May 5 2011.

      Pima County District Attorney found their SWAT team innocent of any wrong, Detective Tisch who submitted incorrect information in the search warrant request has not been punished and the Noname judge who signed the unconstitutional search warrant remains unnamed.

      Everybody walks.

      Except Jose Guerena, who walks the earth no more.

    • Elenin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from So Cal


      Thank you for the kind words and spreading word of the atrocity that was the shooting of Jose Guerena. To inform people of what happened and to make their own conclusions is the reason for these words.

      Have a great day.

    • profile image

      Gina Joy Bennett 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for writing this. What happened is so horrible. Too many times law enforcement/government jumps ahead without fully making sure of what they are doing is justified.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      7 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      This is an excellent hub. it is sad and scary because you are right. if it can happen to someone like Jose a two tour marine. it can happen to us. I am going to put this on my Facebook page I want everyone to read this.. Excellent writing ,


    • Elenin profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from So Cal

      You got it Fitnezz, the first post nails it. How? That has been my question from the first of my hubs. Unsaid, but there nonetheless. How? We need a goal, a particular issue to agitate for. Something for all the people to focus on regardless of preconceived notions of right/left, rep/dem.

      It’s a evolutionary thought process. As information is introduced new strategies will emerge.

      One must be in it for the long haul as you say. The exchange of information and spreading the word about this travesty of justice is what we can and should do now.

      Once one’s eyes are opened to the reality of life in the present United States, they cannot be easily closed again.

      Reynold Jay - Thansks for hanging in there. Step by step, dollar by dollar, that is how you build up an account. Now what do we spend it on? Enjoyed your HUB.

    • FitnezzJim profile image


      7 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia


      One thing that seems apparent at this point is that those who seek to change this sort of approach used for 'law enforcement' need to be able to dedicate to a long-haul. That means almost constantly being on watch for new ways to communicate what happened, communicate why it is wrong, and getting other people to not only agree with the wrong, but agree to the point where they are willing to take some small action to help correct it.

      Every article helps, every song helps, and every news broadcast helps. Every voice helps, whether it be privately communicated, or publicly as here.

      That all said, after folks agree this needs to change, the question is HOW? What changes need to be made to the process, or to the tactics, or is it something else that needs to change?


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