911 tapes released in deadly SWAT shooting

911 tapes released in deadly SWAT shooting

CREATED May 18, 2011

Reporter: Joel Waldman
Web Producer: Layla Tang

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – Recently released 911 tapes are revealing new information about the tense aftermath of a SWAT shooting that killed an ex-Marine.

Jose Guerena, 26, died May 5 during a SWAT raid on his house.  The Pima County Sheriff's Department said the team was trying to serve a search warrant on Guerena's house.  When they broke down the door, he was pointing an assault rifle at them.  Although Guerena never fired, the SWAT team fired at him 71 times, killing him.  Guerena's wife and young son were also in the home at the time of the raid.  She claimed the SWAT team never identified themselves and that Guerena grabbed his gun because he thought his family was the victim of a home invasion, not a police raid.  Pima County authorities have maintained the SWAT team used lights and sirens before entering the Guerena home.

The following are excerpts from the frantic 911 call Vanessa Guerena placed moments after the shooting happened.

911: "Is law enforcement at your house, ma'am? Is law enforcement at your house?  (Are they) inside or outside your residence?"

Guerena: "They are outside, but they came inside! They were inside. They were (inaudible) going to shoot me. And, I put my kid in front of me. They were going to hit me!"

911: "Ok, I need you to calm down."

SWAT said it did not expect Jose's wife and young son to be home. But, it also did not expect the Marine to point a semi-automatic weapon their way; saying, according to authorities, "I've got something for you!"

Vanessa Guerena said her husband was still alive and gasping for air after the shooting.  She pleaded for help to the emergency operator.

911: "Where's he --where's your husband at right now?"

Guerena: "He's on the floor!"

911: "Is he inside the house?"

Guerena: "Yes, he's on the floor! (crying) Can you please hurry up?! Somebody..."

911: "It's very hard for me to understand you, ok. When you get hysterical, ok?"

Guerena: "Can you please send somebody, please?"

Help did arrive; reports showed a Lifeline helicopter was put on standby. But, a KGUN9 investigation uncovered it took an hour and 14 minutes before SWAT let paramedics work on Guerena.  By then, he was dead.

At one point, the 911 operator asked wife Vanessa to provide CPR to her own husband.

Guerena: "I can't. I can't. I can't do that. There's a bunch of people outside of my house. I don't know what the heck is happening."

911: "Ok, go ahead."

 Guerena: (inaudible)

A Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesperson told KGUN9 the search warrants from the Guerena home, as well as three others hit by swat that day, remain sealed.  The Guerena family has hired high-profile attorney Christopher Scileppi to represent them.

Read more about public reaction to this story here.