Raw video: wife of suspect killed in SWAT raid speaks out

Raw video: wife of suspect killed in SWAT raid speaks out

CREATED May 27, 2011

Video by:  Jim Shields, KGUN9 Photojournalist
Notes by:  Forrest Carr

This week, KGUN9 News reporter Joel Waldman interviewed Vanessa Guerena about the shooting of her husband Jose, who died last week when a SWAT team tried to serve a search warrant at their Tucson home.  She stated that neither she nor her husband knew that the people breaking into her home were deputies.  She said that her husband, who pointed a rifle at deputies, was only trying to defend himself.   Guerena never got off a shot.  But SWAT team members fired a total of at least 71 rounds, leaving the home riddled with holes.  Ms. Guerena was hiding in a closet at the time with one of the couple's children.  Neither was hurt.

A clip of raw video from that interview is presented in the Video Gallery at left.  Below are selected quotes from the interview.  (Note:  Ms. Guerena's English is good but not completely fluent.  The voices that can be heard in the background are those of friends and relatives who helped her translate some of her thoughts in places).

Guerena:  "I was getting some clothes to change in because I was like waking up.  So I opened a little bit like the blinds just a little bit, like in half.  So he told me mommy could you turn on the TV so I did. Probably the volume was like a four or five.  So he was like hugging me to say good morning, when I saw this guy like point me [makes gun gesture].  So I got scared, and I got like, 'Please don't shoot, I have a baby.' So I got my baby and put my bag into the window.  And I yell, 'Jose, Jose, wake up!" ... He woke up like scared, he barely had two hours' sleep, he was coming from job.  When he came out of the room, the only thing he told me, 'Vanny, go into the closet."

Guerena:  "I wasn't gonna go, but I did.  ... I wasn't even closing the door, when I start listening to those, like, a lot of shots, a bunch of them.  When that stops, I left my kid in there... I went out, and I saw lots of men at the window, a bunch of them.  They were saying, 'We're the SWAT team."

Guerena:  "The last thing I thought I was gonna see was Jose on the floor with all this blood and stuff.  And he was just saying, 'Uh, uh.'  And I couldn't help him.  So I called the 911 to have the ambulance.  And they told me they were on their way."

Waldman:  "At any point, did you hear them yell 'police' or 'SWAT?'"

Guerena:  "No."

Waldman:  "At any point, did you hear sirens outside?"

Guerena:  "No."

Guerena:  "When I went out, five or ten minutes, I don't know how long, until my kid went outside.  When he saw this, when he saw all this police outside, the only thing he asked me, was, 'Mom, my dad was a bad guy?  They killed my dad?'"

Guerena:  "By that moment, I was like, they're gonna take care of him, they're gonna take him to the hospital.  And I was like calm at that point.  But after two or three hours they told me, 'I'm sorry, but your husband passed away."

Waldman:  "Were you able to talk to Jose at all? Was he responding in any way before you left?"

Guerena:  "He never talked to me.  The last words that he told me were, 'Vanny, go into the closet.  That's it.  If I wouldn't listen to him, Oh, My  God.  I would have been killed too... They would have killed me too, and my kid."

Waldman:  "As far as you know, did Jose have anything to do with drugs?"

Guerena:  "Oh, no, you can check, they can check, everything...  They didn't get anything at the house.  They stole stuff, like my ring, his wallet, stuff like you can't even imagine, personal stuff."

Waldman:  "What do you want to know?"

Guerena:  "Why?  Why?  Why did they do this to him?  Justice.  I want justice.  I was justice for my kid."