SWAT raid: what the 911 tapes reveal about the medical delay

SWAT raid: what the 911 tapes reveal about the medical delay

CREATED May 26, 2011

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The case of former Marine Jose Guerena, killed in a SWAT raid more than two weeks ago, is still stirring controversy.

The Sheriff's Office is still not offering details but the SWAT team's private attorney is offering an account of the incident.

9 On Your Side wanted wants to know- whether the recordings match up with the SWAT team's account.

With the Sheriff's Department making no official statements for now, the most official detail available comes from 911 tapes.
So we cross referenced them against the unofficial statements from the private attorney speaking for the SWAT team.

SWAT attorney Michael Storie says no one answered the door at Jose Guerena's house they broke in at about 9:30am.

Then they see Jose Guerena with an assault rifle powerful enough to pierce their body armor.

Storie:"What does he do?  Does he drop his weapon?  Oh, it's the police, drop my weapon?  No.  Does he just stand there? No.  He heightens the threat by raising the gun and pointing it at the SWAT operators."

The SWAT team fired---71 times.

Guerena's wife Vanessa called for help.

Recordings show ambulance crews and even a Lifeline helicopter were on standby about 9:43 or 9:44 but were told to stay away.

911:"You need to hold off per S-O (Sheriff's Office) 26 year old man shot in the stomach.  We have Lifeline One on standby at 9:44."

We know SWAT operators have strong First Aid training and often bring their own medics with them.

Radio traffic confirms that.

911:"SWAT has medics and we have a couple medics here so I think we're gonna be pretty good unless we have multiple injuries."

But why did medics wait about an hour and fourteen minutes before SWAT sent them away?

SWAT Attorney Mike Storie says after SWAT operators fired they saw Guerena jump or fall into a room where they couldn't see him and be sure he was no longer a threat.

Storie:"They treat this as a barricaded situation at this point.  They pull back and they re-assess what will we do now?"

Recordings of SWAT radio calls have not been released, but 911 told the medical helicopter not to fly near what they regarded as a dangerous barricaded suspect.

911:"I would not even hover over the scene.  SWAT's on scene.  It's not clear.  We're still holding off.  Just for them to be safe.  The patient's barricaded."

Christopher Scileppi, the attorney for the Guerena family has been calling for Storie to back up his account---and for the Sheriff to un-seal the documents where investigators justified a search warrant, and the document outlining what they found.

Storie says they found evidence the house at least was connected to a home invasion crew but there's still nothing we can see on paper to document that.