Forenote: This article focuses on the recent killing of a former U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq war in a military styled raid on his home by the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Department while allegedly attempting to serve a warrant.
However, there are two other striking stories which relate to this story. The three stories taken together create a yet larger story, and one with very serious implications. I will break the larger story into three sub-sections, parts one through three. I will post two other parts as quickly as I can write each of them. Please check back at this site for the next installments, and do grant yourself permission to read part one in full.
An Empire Strikes Home _ Part One
On The Militarization Of Local Peace Officers
By Elias Alias, May 16, 2011
Let us examine some articles about a young husband and father, a war veteran with the U.S. Marines who served two tours in Iraq. The articles are about his being killed by the Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Department while the Sheriff’s Department was serving a warrant at the former Marine’s house.
On May 05, 2011 KGUN9 in Tucson, Arizona, reported the following information to its audience:
PCSD ID’s man killed in morning SWAT situation
Posted: May 05, 2011 11:47 AM MDT
Updated: May 06, 2011 11:20 AM MDT
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that a man is dead after a standoff and gun battle with deputies.
Jason Ogan, spokesperson with PCSD tells KGUN9 that 26-year-old Jose Huerena was the suspect killed this morning.
According to Ogan, deputies were serving a warrant at a home near Valenica Road and Wade Road when the standoff started. A woman and a child were also in the home with the suspect at the time the warrant was served. Howeverm [sic] they were able to get out of the house before the SWAT team became involved.
When deputies fianlly entered the home, the Huerena started firing with a long rifle. Deputies fired back, fatally shooting him.
That article is here –
As I read the above article, I gather that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department was using “deputies” to serve a warrant. At the home of the man for whom the alleged warrant was issued, a man ended up dead after “a standoff and gun battle with deputies”. The “suspect” was, as I read this story, involved in a “standoff”. That means to me that he was barricaded inside his home and keeping the officers outside his house by some means or other, with the most likely implied meaning being his brandishing of a long rifle. We don’t know for sure at this point who “the Huerena” would be, but we figure that is actually Jose Huerena, the suspect for whom the warrant was issued, who fired on the deputies “with a long rifle”. At that point, after the suspect fired on them, they opened fire and killed him.
All in a day’s work, yes?
Before moving to the next news release about this shooting incident, in which fortunately no peace officers were harmed, let us recount that an armed suspect fired on the deputies who were there to serve a warrant, as told to the news journalist by … well, by whom? We must presume that the report came from the Sheriff’s Department for Pima County, right? In fact, the article clearly states that one “Jason Ogan, spokesperson with PCSD” told KGUN9 that Jose Huerena was the suspect who was shot dead, and that deputies were serving a warrant at Huerena’s house when the standoff started.
We’ll bear that in mind.
But later and to our surprise, we’re to read a somewhat different account. Let’s look at the subsequent report:
SWAT Officers kill armed suspect, neighbors shocked
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – At around 9:45 Thursday morning, people living near Valencia and Ajo Highway heard sounds that they’ve never heard on their street before.
“Gunshots. Boom, boom boom. Screaming!” described a neighbor. “It kind of looks like a scene from Law & Order. To see all of this is just crazy!”
Pima County Sheriff’s deputies told KGUN9 News that the SWAT team showed up at the home to serve a search warrant, although they won’t say the reason for the warrant. Deputies said that when they went down the hallway, they were greeted by Jose Guerena, 26, who was armed with a rifle. Deputies said that he opened fire on the officers which forced them to fire back, killing Guerena. The bulletproof shield that officers were carrying took the brunt of the bullets. They were not hurt.
“We are trained to always be on alert because you never know when a scenario is going to change. We don’t always know what the bad guy is going to do.”said Pima County Deputy, Jason Ogan. “The SWAT team is used deliberately for high risk type warrants, this met that criteria and that’s why the SWAT team served the warrant.”
Ogan said that Guerena’s wife and four year old son were not hurt.
Neighbors who spoke to 9 On Your Side had no idea why the SWAT team was serving a warrant on the house.
“Being out here so close to the border, it could have been anything from drugs to human smuggling,” one neighbor said. He added that the Guerena family was the “quiet family” on the street.
Guerena’s home was eventually searched, but deputies would not disclose what was found.
- end quoted passages -
Now we see it was not just any old run-of-the-mill Sheriff’s deputies who showed up to serve the warrant, but instead was a highly specialized sort of Sheriff’s deputies – the County Sheriff’s S.W.A.T. team.
So I’ve got a question at this point. Why did Sheriff’s deputy Jason Ogan in the first article we read above say it was “deputies” when in fact it was S.W.A.T. team members? There is a difference. S.W.A.T. is the elite of law enforcement. They are truly militarized, trained hard and intensely in “procedures” and “tactics” as if the American homes they’ll assault are battlegrounds. This mindset is perfected and driven home into their loyal brains by repeated training and indoctrination. It is a mindset which is viewed by the “authorities” to be vital and necessary for good men involved in bad work, such as assaulting the homes of American citizens. They are trained to obey all orders instantly, and to take it up with superiors later if they think they were given a bad order.
Perhaps in his role as “spokesman” for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Ogan felt or intuited in his first report of the incident that “deputies” sounded more benign, somehow a bit more acceptable, than just blurting out that the S.W.A.T. team had stormed the house of a citizen and shot him dead.
But it would have been okay, even if he had told the full colorful version of the story, since the suspect had fired on the S.W.A.T. team as they were simply serving a warrant. After all, we do know that law enforcement offices around the nation are given regular profile updates on “extremists” and “lone wolf radicals” and “anti-government” misfits of nefarious ilk. We also know that the Department of Homeland Security has published its opinion that returning veterans from America’s numerous foreign wars are primary objects for extra police scrutiny because they get kinky in their brains sometimes and think they’ve seen something wrong with how the Federal government administers itself upon the American people and especially how it administers itself upon foreign peoples in various countries. This of course would make our returning war vets highly susceptible to radical or extreme views. That, and of course the combat vets know damn well how to use firepower, same as or better than many cops who’ve not been in combat.
So we must ask, did the Pima County Sheriff’s Department pass this kind of government propaganda, which demonizes our war heroes, our veterans of foreign wars who served this nation by placing their lives on the line in combat zones around the world, on to the deputies and the S.W.A.T. unit members of the PCSD? We may never know, because DHS and the Fusion Centers prefer to keep these kinds of profiling of citizens secret. We can know that there are very solid grounds to ask that question, and I do not want that question to be lost in the shuffle of what’s to come later in this article.
In this second article, we learn more details, thanks to not only Deputy Ogan but also to other deputies. We learn that “the SWAT team showed up at the home to serve a search warrant, although they won’t say the reason for the warrant.” Of course everyone knows that the reason, the warrant, is only to be known by those with a need to know, and the public has no need to know, so the Sheriff’s Department hasn’t anything to tell us, in this second report, about the warrant, about just what the warrant accused the dead man. The authorities know, but they had no interest in the public’s knowing the details of a warrant which warranted a freshly dead citizen. But my God, it could have been – DRUGS!
I’m supposing that it’s common practice to go about serving warrants with S.W.A.T. teams in Arizona. That is probably a good thing, at least in this case, for the deputies have told KGUN9 tv news that when they “went down the hallway, they were greeted by Jose Guereno, 26, who was armed with a rifle. Deputies said that he opened fire on the officers which forced them to fire back, killing Guerena. The bulletproof shield that officers were carrying took the brunt of the bullets. They were not hurt.”
My goodness, he might have shot one of them. Thankfully, they had shields which “took the brunt of the bullets”. Note that the deputies stated, or are quoted as saying, that the shields took the brunt of more than one bullet, for they used the word’s plural spelling, “bullets” with an “s”. The “s” is an embellishment, no? It lends yet more to the story. Here is a guy who has a long gun and is suddenly firing not just once but multiple times at the peace officers who had barged into his home.
But that’s okay, in a way, because S.W.A.T. trains for unexpected shifts in “scenarios”. Each new home invasion has its own unique set of circumstances, its own special challenges, its own list of variables which are to be accounted for in planning a S.W.A.T. operation. They call such raids “scenarios”. Here is how Deputy Ogan put it, precisely –
“We are trained to always be on alert because you never know when a scenario is going to change.”
See? They’re trained to see home invasions as “scenarios”. That is because they are specialists and because they have been militarized psychologically. I say that because in the S.W.A.T. team members’ heads, a home invasion is an “operation”. That’s how soldiers see that kind of work. And that is how an increasing number of our local peace officers across the nation are seeing it, because an increasing river of Federal funding continues to grow its way into our Counties, such as Pima County, Arizona.
Along with that funding comes training, courtesy of Federal programs. The local peace officer becomes psychologically cognizant of a more professional approach to law enforcement. He has, through Federal grace and Fusion Centers, a notion of interface with the U.S. military, which also is being schooled and trained to interface with local law enforcement. So it’s obvious that a common perception of a common chain of command with a common set of tactics and training “scenarios” is called for. We are after all in modern times, and all that.
But Deputy Ogan was happy to say plenty to the news journalists. Look at what he said next –
“We don’t always know what the bad guy is going to do”, said Pima County Deputy, Jason Ogan.
And that brings up an interesting point as well. The training S.W.A.T. team members receive seems to paint any citizen who is the object of a warrant-serving scenario is to be automatically seen as “the bad guy”. Pretty simple symbology, that. If there is a warrant, the intended recipient of that warrant must be “the bad guy”. Case closed, no judge and jury required. Were it not so, the system would not send a S.W.A.T. team to serve the warrant, right? Of course. Deputy Ogan spells that out for us too, in his following sentence –
“The SWAT team is used deliberately for high risk type warrants, this met that criteria and that’s why the SWAT team served the warrant.”
So we may deduce that a criteria was studied and the suspect was considered to be a “high risk type”. That does cause me to wonder how the warrant named his crime, and I wish the Sheriff would elucidate on the particulars of how this was viewed to be a “high risk type warrant”.
There is a reason why I wonder such things. It has to do with this –
From there –
SWAT team fatal shooting update: Suspect did not fire weapon
Posted: May 09, 2011 5:12 PM MDT Updated: May 09, 2011 5:13 PM MDT
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is releasing new information in the May 5 officer involved shooting case that resulted in 26-year-old Jose Guerona’s death.
Further investigation reveals Guerena did not shoot at the deputies before they returned fire.
The SWAT Team shot and killed Guerena Thursday morning after he pointed an assault rifle at officers who were trying to deliver a warrant. The rifle had the safety on, but was loaded.
Guerena’s wife and 4-year-old son were also at home but they were not injured.
The sheriff’s department is still investigating.
- End -
That sorta changes things, we reckon.
Let’s be clear, regarding one sentence above – one cannot “return fire” when one has not been fired upon. The truth here could be that Guerena was first officially said to have fired “bullets” at the S.W.A.T. deputies, now we’re told that he did not fire a shot.
We were told by the Sheriff’s Department that the S.W.A.T. shields deflected the shots so that no deputy was injured. Remember that? Now we’re told by that same Sheriff’s Department that the man did not fire a single round at the S.W.A.T. team. What can we make of that?
I imagine it’s just the fog of war. Another militarization of the local peace officer – when one screws up, one obfuscates, just like Deputy Ogan has done, on the record no less. A good question at this point would be from whom Deputy Ogan got his story’s details. Did he just make up those lies himself, or did someone tell him what the story would be? Caught in a total self-contradiction in the news media, on the record, is an automatic waiver of any immunity, especially when a citizen’s death hangs in the balance. Killing a U.S. Marine veteran and lying about it is a grave situation.
There is more.
Here is another revelation:
SWAT team fired 71 shots in raid
Fernanda Echavarri Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:00 am
From the article –
The Pima County Regional SWAT team fired 71 shots in seven seconds at a Tucson man they say pointed a gun at officers serving a search warrant at his home.
Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine who served in Iraq twice, was holding an AR-15 rifle when he was killed, but he never fired a shot, the Sheriff’s Department said Monday after initially saying he had fired on officers during last week’s raid. (snip)
Now let’s look at this story from the perspective of the widow. Continuing from story linked above.
Vanessa Guerena says she heard noise outside their home about 9 a.m. Thursday and woke her husband who had just gone to bed after working a 12-hour shift at the Asarco Mine, she said. There were no sirens or shouts of “police,” she said.
Guerena told his wife and son to hide inside a closet and he grabbed the AR-15 rifle, his wife said.
The department says SWAT members were clear when identifying themselves while entering the home.
“Tucson is notorious for home invasions and we didn’t want to look like that,” said Lt. Michael O’Connor of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. “We went lights and sirens and we absolutely did not do a ‘no-knock’ warrant.”
When five SWAT members broke through the front door Guerena was crouched down pointing the gun at them, said O’Connor.
“The suspect said, ‘I’ve got something for you,’ when he saw them,” O’Connor said. Guerena’s wife denied he said that.
Deputies began shooting.
A deputy’s bullet struck the side of the doorway, causing chips of wood to fall on his shield. That prompted some members of the team to think the deputy had been shot, O’Connor said.
The Sheriff’s Department put in a call to Drexel Heights fire at 9:43 a.m. requesting assistance with a shooting. But crews were told to hold off.
Guerena was dead by the time they were allowed in the house, fire officials said.
Vanessa Guerena vividly remembers seeing her wounded husband.
“When I came out the officers dragged me through the kitchen and took me outside, and that’s when I saw him laying there gasping for air,” Vanessa Guerena said. “I kept begging the officers to call an ambulance that maybe he could make it and that my baby was still inside.”
The little boy soon after walked out of the closet on his own. SWAT members took him outside to be with his mother.
“I never imagined I would lose him like that, he was badly injured but I never thought he could be killed by police after he served his country,” Vanessa Guerena said.
- end –
Here is more -
From that link:
Former Marine killed by SWAT was acting in defense, family says
Posted: May 10, 2011 7:14 PM MDT Updated: May 13, 2011 5:40 PM MDT
Reporter: Joel Waldman
Web Producer: Layla Tang
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - New details are emerging about Jose Guerena, the man killed last Thursday in a SWAT incident at his Tucson home. He was gunned down by SWAT members while his wife and young child hid in a closet.
Now, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has taken responsibility for the fatal shooting. The SWAT team said it was just executing a narcotics search warrant when Guerena threatened officers with a military rifle. But the Sheriff’s Department has changed its story on whether Guerena actually fired at anyone.
On Tuesday, candles and tributes to Guerena could be seen outside his home. Family members said the 26-year-old former Marine served two tours of duty in Iraq. A smashed window and a barrage of bullet holes might be the type of scene a battle-hardened Marine would find in a war zone but not the Tucson home he shared with his two children and wife. Guerena’s wife, Vanessa, said her husband died thinking he was protecting his family from an invasion.
“I saw this guy pointing me at the window. So, I got scared. And, I got like, ‘Please don’t shoot, I have a baby.’ I put my baby (down). (And I) put bag in window. And, I yell ‘Jose! Jose! Wake up!’” she explained.
Jose had just come home from working at the mine. Vanessa said he had fallen asleep two hours before, only to wake up to chaos in his house. It was Pima County SWAT executing a narcotics conspiracy search warrant, but according to her, neither she nor her husband knew it was the authorities until it was too late.
“You’re saying only (they) yelled SWAT after the shootout?” asked KGUN9 reporter Joel Waldman.
“Oh, yes! Yes,” said Guerena.
[Elias note: Let’s break in this story right here long enough to note something significant. The wife of the dead Marine veteran is saying that the invading S.W.A.T. deputies did not yell their identity until after the shooting began. So this aspect of the case is in contest. That is not good for the Sheriff’s Department, because the Sheriff’s Department has already demonstrated that it will state false information as if it were truth. The Sheriff’s Department is the only side of this argument which has already established itself as being capable of lying. Thus far, Mrs. Huerena has not had to retract any of her statements, while the Sheriff’s Department has.]
(continuing from article) Vanessa said Jose grabbed a gun to protect himself from what he thought were home invaders.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Office denies that officers failed to identify themselves. Lt. Michael O’Connor told KGUN9’s Joel Waldman that the SWAT team has a standard procedure when serving high-risk search warrants of this nature designed to prevent the suspect from confusing officers with criminal home invaders. “We will have a lot police vehicles there, with their lights and their sirens on. In this case… because it was a narcotics high risk type of a search warrant, we had our large armored vehicle there with the markings on it. It also has lights and sirens, it was going. So we do everything we can to portray the image that we are law enforcement, we are not home invaders.”
O’Connor also said emphatically that this was not a “no knock” raid. “This case was, we came in very high profile, lights and sirens. We go to the door, we pound on the door. We wait approximately 15 seconds. If no one answers the door, we breach the door with a heavy tool and open the door.”
The officer said that when the SWAT team got the door open, they found Guerena crouched in the hall pointing an assault rifle at them. According to O’Connor, Guerena said, “”I have something for you!” He said that Guerena “brought this all on himself by presenting himself the way he did.”
Guerena’s relatives disagree. “Now, they’re saying this now that they admitted for him not shooting back (SIC). They want to throw more dirt on him,” said cousin Oscar Garcia.
Garcia is referring to the issue [ of ] the change [ in the ] story about whether Guerena fired his gun. Initially investigators reported that he had, but then later, they corrected that statement and said that Guerena had not gotten off a shot. Deputies confirmed that Guerena’s safety was still on when his gun was recovered. Also, officials said that reports that some SWAT officers’ shields were riddled with bullets are also untrue. (snip)
- end quoted passages –
What can we say about all of this? I think, personally, that someone somewhere might see good cause to establish a fund for Mrs. Huerena’s two children, who now have been deprived of a father by the government.
We have learned, if we are to believe everything we read, that Mr. Huerena’s warrant was related to “conspiracy” and to “narcotics”. We wonder if the people will be able to see that warrant. We wonder if the others supposedly involved in that conspiracy will be named. We wonder if they will be giving statements, whether coerced or volunteered. We wonder how many years it shall take the S.W.A.T. team members to mature in their personal wisdom, each of them who pulled a trigger in this home invasion, enough to realize that the war on drugs is not lawful and cannot be justified in the U.S. Constitution, and that what they did the day they killed this young father, young husband, young new-home owner, young war veteran, they violated something very sacred, something which is supposed to be protected by our women and men who wear the uniforms, badges, and guns of law enforcement.
Their training produces a mind-set which is so intense, so reinforced, so strongly structured that some of them may never become human again. Perhaps a few will sober up in later years, come down from their perpetual adrenalin high, and realize that they were duped into being strong-arms for a corrupt government program which is working to destroy the U.S. Constitution which they swore to uphold and protect.
While this incident is very damning, we must recall that this incident is but a tiny fraction of the great number of S.W.A.T. team mis-applications in this nation. Innocent citizens have been brutalized, tormented, and even shot to death by government agents acting like storm troopers in the so-called war on drugs. And I’m guessing that hardly a one of the guys with the guns who are conducting such assaults ever looks into the Constitutionality of this kind of thing. I’m guessing that they will be old men and women before they realize that in enforcing anti-drug laws they are assisting the government in its claim to own the citizen.
How can I say that? Easy. A free American citizen has full Constitutional rights, including an unalienable right to complete ownership of one’s body and one’s mind. It has to be that way, and the government has to admit it ultimately, because it is written into our nation’s founding legal documents. It is amplified in the letters and writings of this nation’s founders. It is enshrined in numerous Supreme Court rulings. And it is simple common sense. If government can own one’s body, one is not free. This nation’s government declares incessantly that Americans are “free”. To be free, one must accept full ownership of, and responsibility for, one’s body and one’s mind.
When government would tell anyone what one may or may not put into one’s body, government has at that point exceeded its authority and violated its own founding legal charter and nullified the compact between the several sovereign States of the compact. There is no authority for the government to own anyone’s body, nor to dictate what one may or may not ingest into one’s body. Self ownership is an unalienable right. Government is wrong about the war on drugs.
And that is where we should close part one of this article. There is another very interesting story just out, and that story involves the same scenario – a police raid on a citizen’s home and whether or not the home owner has lawful right to defend himself against an unlawful assault by law enforcement. Seems the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that the cops can do as they wish, make any mistake on a warrant or an address, and the home-owner is liable if he tries to defend his home against an unlawful attack by the cops.
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