Medical care blocked for man killed by SWAT

Medical care blocked for man killed by SWAT

CREATED May 20, 2011

Reporter: Craig Smith
Web Producer: Layla Tang

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - 9 On Your Side has uncovered startling new information in the case of a man SWAT team members killed May 5.

Medical attention was standing by to try to save Jose Guereña.

Paramedics waited more than an hour.

Then deputies sent them away

By then, Guereña was dead.

The Pima Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was trying to serve warrants for a drug investigation.  According to deputies, when SWAT members broke open the door at Guereña's house they found him crouched in the hall, with an assault rifle pointed at them.

They concede now Guereña didn't shoot, but five deputies did, firing off 71 rounds.

His wife Vanessa was hiding in the closet with their 4-year-old son during the shooting.  When she emerged, she saw her husband on the floor in a pool of blood, but still alive.  Vanessa told KGUN9 she called 911 and pleaded with deputies to treat his wounds.

"The only thing I told them was take care of him, take him to a hospital," she said.

KGUN9 News requested the emergency call records for Drexel Heights Fire Rescue.  The 911 call center notified Drexel Heights at 9:43 a.m.  A unit arrived just two minutes later at 9:45.  However, deputies told rescue workers to stay put.  That's standard to be sure they won't walk into a dangerous situation.  But paramedics waited until 10:59 a.m.  Then they heard the radio call "Code 900", which meant they were no longer needed because the person was dead.

After one hour and 14 minutes, Drexel Heights indicated they were never allowed to even examine Jose .

In comparison, on the day of the January 8th mass shooting, deputies held back ambulance and fire crews there for only 12 minutes before they determined it was safe for emergency medical crews to enter the chaotic scene.  

The Guereña maintains that SWAT members did not identify themselves before breaking down the door, and Jose Guereña had his rifle drawn because he was protecting his family from what he thought was a home invasion.  His wife said he had a clean criminal record, and that she still doesn't know why SWAT members were serving a search warrant at the house.  The family announced Wednesday that they have hired prominent attorney Christopher Scileppi to represent them.