Marine killed by officers linked to drug probe


Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — An ex-Marine shot and killed by authorities at his home south of Tucson was a suspect in a complex drug investigation, according to documents released by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Special Weapons and Tactics officers went to Jose Guerena's house May 5 to serve a search warrant, but it ended in his fatal shooting.

More than 500 pages of officers' statements, evidence lists and witness interviews in the case were released Thursday.

The Arizona Daily Star reports Guerena and two other men were named as suspects in briefings given to officers before the warrants were served. Many of the reports refer to the sheriff's long-term drug investigation as the reason for the search.

Items taken included a handgun, tax returns, bank statements, a bank card and insurance papers. There's no indication that drugs were found in the house, and a lawyer for the Guerena family said nothing seized from the victim's home was illegal.

A short video showing Pima County Regional SWAT team members serving the warrant was also released Thursday. The written documents detail what sheriff's personnel did during the incident.

The Sheriff's Department said previously that Guerena pointed an AR-15 rifle at officers as they entered the home and the SWAT team fired 71 shots in seven seconds at the 26-year-old man. It was later determined that Guerena did not fire at officers.

The released video recording shows that deputies driving toward Guerena's home turned on their sirens for a few seconds as they approached. It also shows them announcing themselves, then knocking down the front door and firing their guns.

Audiotapes reveal that no SWAT officers entered Guerena's house. Law enforcement officers went into his home only after a robot was sent in and it was determined about an hour after the shooting that Guerena was dead.

Another report said detectives found body armor in a hallway closet in Guerena's house and a U.S. Border Patrol hat in the garage.

Some search warrant documents remain sealed. The Sheriff's Department would not comment on the reports and tapes Friday.

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.

Guerena's wife, Vanessa, and the couple's 4-year-old son were home at the time of the shooting but escaped injury.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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