An Open letter to the Reader
Attention. A new and improved format for the article about Jose Guerena, “Hey Diego” is available this week only. Plus, a whole bonus surprise ending paragraph, absolutely free. But you must respond soon to get the last paragraph. Anytime before midnight Sun. July 17 2011. All offers are open. Even advice. Here; is one possible example; ‘Go away and don’t bother us anymore’ , cut and paste and send it on. A grunt of acknowledgement is better than the most palatial silence.
Remember, midnight Sun. July 17 2011.
Thank you for your time.
Sandy Hutchinson and Diego Hernandez met in a Starbucks by San Diego’s South Bay. Friends since high school, they still try to take the time to get together now and then, catch up on the latest news and just hang out. Old friends with no agenda, just comfortably enjoying the weather and each other’s company.
After talk of current and former girl friends and the latest problems ongoing in their respective workplaces, Sandy turns to Diego and asks “Say, have you heard about Jose Guerena?” Diego considers and slowly shakes his head “No, did he go to school with us?
Sandy shakes his head “No, he was an Arizona boy, a place called Pima County out around Tucson.”
Diego looks up “You said was, what happened to him?
Sandy looks his friend in the eye “A SWAT team busted in and just blew that guy away. They fired 71 rounds, shot up his front door and sent bullets flying into neighboring houses.” “Wow, what was he, some sort of mass murderer or something?” Diego asked “Naw man, nothing like it.” Sandy responded “The dude had just spent all night working at a mine, when his wife wakes him up and tells him she sees armed men around the house. He tells her to grab his youngest kid and hide in a closet. He grabs his AR15 and places himself in a hallway to face the front door. SWAT came in blasting. Homeboy never had a chance.” Sandy shook his head.
Diego asked ”Did he get a shot off?”
“No, he showed more discipline than that SWAT team. He never fired and his safety was never taken off.” Sandy responded, hesitated a moment then continued “He was A Marine vet, did two tours in Iraq.” Diego’s eyes expanded, he gave Sandy a curious look, nodded his head, stood and walked to the rail and looked out over the bay.
Sandy was not surprised at Diego’s reaction. They had both shared a friend that was lost in that war. Diego was much tighter with Larry and took his death very hard. After a short while Diego sat back down. “Why you telling me this man?” he asked. ”Because it’s ‘F’ed up that’s why” Sandy returned “It bothers me and I don’t know why, but I thought you should know”. Diego gave his friend that hurtful, curious look again “Is it because he was a Marine, like Larry?” he asked. Sandy just shook his head “Being a Marine is part of it and maybe that IS what got my attention in the first place but as I found out more about this shooting, it just got worse and worse.”
“Well you got my attention, so spill it all.” Diego smiled “What were the cops looking for anyway?” “Marijuana” Sandy said. Diego just shook his head “and they found?” he asked. “Nada” said Sandy “Absolutely nothing illegal was found, plus they tested his blood after killing him and he came out totally clean.”
“Ran his blood already, hmm.” said Diego “When did this go down?”He asked. “Early May” replied Sandy “What” said a surprised and usually well informed Diego “I haven’t heard a thing”. ”And you most likely won’t” said Sandy “There is like no mention of it anywhere on the West Coast. Try to look it up on the Union Tribune or the LA times and you will not see anything on the shooting. You might see a cheap blurb about the Pima County DA finding the shooting and death justifiable but that’s it, local TV news, same thing. Hard to believe that we are only 6 hours away”
“5 hours the way you drive” Diego smiled then changed expression and held up his hand “Whoa now, you just said that there has already been an investigation and those guys got off?” Sandy nodded his head.
“Those guys were not even taken off their normal rotation. Pima County DA found Pima County Sheriff Dupnik’s SWAT team innocent of any wrong. There is no other official investigation. Legally they are off the hook. “
“Damn” said Diego and after a pause he asked “What about his wife”
Sandy looking flustered, said “Look man, I am getting all out of sequence on this thing”
Diego nodded his head, he knew his friend was a stickler for details and in fact had teased him about it on occasion. “That’s OK, tell me about the widow”
“Don’t know much really, her name is Vanessa and she has two sons, ages 4 and 6. She hired a local attorney who is supposed to be decent. There are a lot of tributes to her husband on Youtube using her 911 call as a sound track. For that matter, you can see Jose Guerena’s death video taken from a SWAT helmet cam, only 54 seconds to see someone get killed”. Sandy sadly shook his head. “I really feel sorry for the wife, what she has been through and what she will continue to have to go through. Those poor kids have had their childhood taken away as surely as their Daddy was taken from them.”
Diego looked up across the Bay, “How could something so evil go unpunished? He asked quietly. This caused Sandy to jump up. “Everything about this case is Evil and wrong.“ He threw his arms up “They said the search warrant was the result of 20 months of investigation, yet it was full of holes, They said Jose Guerena was unemployed and had no source of income for cris’ sakes. That warrant should have never been signed; it was a violation of the Constitution. Yet no one is even looking at the judge who signed it and the detectives who submitted the false information.” Sandy sat back down. “And that’s not the worst of it” he muttered.
Diego stroked his chin thoughtfully “Seems like you have given this a lot of time and thought.” He surmised. “Yeah” Sandy said “the way I found out about it was such a chance thing that it just compelled me to dig deeper and not let it go. Apparently laws were passed after 911, the [anti]Patriot act and the like, that contradict the Constitution and allow this type of Police behavior with no punishment to those abusing it. I found out there are approximately 150-200 SWAT raids a DAY in our United States. That’s 150-200 potential Jose Guerena’s a day, not to mention the danger they are unnecessarily putting the Police in, calling for SWAT teams when common sense dictates that would be overkill and not required.”
“Nice choice of words” Diego grimaced “That IS the worst of it”
Sandy looked puzzled, and then realization flooded his face. He shook his head No and tapped his friend on the knee. “No man, that stuff is downright scary but I was talking about the worse part about the Jose Guerena case. You see, although that SWAT team fired off 71 rounds shooting up doors and stuff, only 22 hit Guerena, of those 22 only 4% were in the center mass of the body, where SWAT teams are supposed to aim for. Only 2 shots were potentially lethal by themselves.” Sandy paused and looked off into the horizon. Diego remained quiet. “The Swat team shot him from the doorway but did not enter his home and secure the building like they are supposed to do. The SWAT guys have medical training but did not initiate it. Paramedics were on the scene 3 minutes after the 911 call but were not allowed to do their jobs and save Guerena because SWAT command would not let them in.
“You mean,,, they just let him bleed out?” Diego asked, astonished.
“That’s right” Sandy nodded “They went and sat in their SWAT vehicle and waited for a robot to show up. Jose Guerena NEVER received any medical care after being shot by the Pima SWAT team. Eventually they got the robot into the house where it prodded at Guerena to make sure he was dead. About half an hour after being shot he was declared dead from a video screen and pronounced dead over the telephone.
Diego sat bolt upright “Your chitin me” he said. Robots? A doctor who pronounces people dead over the phone? Letting a man bleed out? He trailed off. Sandy nodded and put his hand over his heart “God as my witness, I wish it wasn’t true” he said “Check it out yourself.”
Diego sat back “I will, Oh yes indeed, check it out, I will.” he nodded, looked at his old high school buddy then, after a moment, uttered “That Marine died alone.” He paused and shook his head and looked away “The guy might have had a better chance in Iraq than he had in his own hallway.” Diego sighed. No words were spoken for a long while, then Diego stood up and Sandy joined him. The friends shook hands and said their farewells. The two men knew that something oddly significant had transpired between them that day and that somehow in some way, they might be forever changed from the experience.
A year to the day later, although no one recalled the coincidence, Diego married Lisa, Larry’s widow. He also adopted her daughter, but made sure to keep Larry’s last name. “At least for a few more years” A proud Diego told Sandy at the wedding banquet.
A comment on Comments;
I am not the best moderator. I space out into the ether for long periods.
I will respond eventually. This Hub;
started by Ghost 32, has been following the Jose 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 system that allowed his death with Zero accountability for those involved. 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 about anything, please write whatever you want.