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Why was Latino ex-Marine shot 60 times by Arizona SWAT team?

by Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Another Latino has been shot dead in an Arizona home invasion – and the national media is once again ignoring the story. It happened on May 5 and the news is only now surfacing outside the Arizona media through citizen journalism on blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

According to the Arizona Daily Star

“Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine, was sleeping after the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission mine about 9:30 a.m. when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife has said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.

”Jose was shot 60 times by members of the Pima County SWAT team. His bullet riddled body was found by his wife Vanessa and their four-year-old son, Joel.  “Mom, my dad was a bad guy? What did my dad do?'” asked Joel according to Vanessa. Her desperate 911 call to save her husband’s life was recorded on this chilling YouTube video.

The explanation by the Pima County Sheriff’s office for the home invasion has changed since the May 5 shooting. First reports by the Sheriff’s office were that the SWAT team’s mission was to break up a suspected drug ring and that Jose fired his weapon before the SWAT team fired back. That story was later reversed when it was discovered the safety on Jose’s AR-15 was still locked. The motive for the SWAT team’s mission was then changed by the Sheriff’s office, which now says that “someone in the home” had been suspected of a connection with a home invasion robbery ring. The Sheriff’s Office w ill not say when complete details behind the motive and actions of the SWAT team will be released.

No drugs, cash or criminal evidence of any kind were found in the home. Neither Jose nor his wife Vanessa has a criminal record. Ironically, Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik was highly critical of right wing talk radio following the Tucson shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in January, saying that Arizona had become “a mecca for prejudice and bigotry” thanks to the “vitriol” spread by far-right pundits.

Although virtually ignored by the national media, most Latinos in Arizona know about the home invasion by Shawna Forde and her Minutemen accomplices posing as Border Patrol agents that led to the shooting death of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father. So I’m not surprised José Guerena would have reached for his rifle to defend his family.

Jose served two tours of duty as a decorated Marine in Iraq. He returned from service no doubt grateful to have survived the firefights in that war-torn nation. In a cruel twist of fate, he would die in a hail of bullets in his own home.

This tragic story is shocking and sad. Sadder still is that this tragedy has found no “bounce” in the national media. Had this two-hitch Iraq veteran been named Grady instead of Guerena, I think it would have made headlines across the country.

No federal investigation of the actions by the Pima County SWAT team is planned at this time. And without any significant national media coverage of this questionable incident, that is likely how it will remain.

To learn more about Raul, visit visit


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


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About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. It’s a shame that we serve a country that treats us like second rate citizens. Shame on the American system that does not protect all its citizens equally.

  2. This is an urgent call-out to all Oath Keepers, all veterans, all patriotic police officers, all Americans who cherish our liberty and our Constitution, and to all liberty leaders and patriotic organizations to join us in Tucson, Arizona this Memorial Day, May 30, 2011 to take a stand in defense of our Constitution, which our war dead fought to defend, and to take a stand against the egregious policy of using SWAT teams to serve search warrants on veterans and gun owners with no violent criminal history.

  3. Raul, keep pushing this. We will get there. This story MUST get national attention. Not only for its sheer tragedy and bloodshed, but for the fact that this country, the country that takes pride in the men and women who serve and defend us, is at its critical boiling point: do we as Americans allow for this horror to continue or do we scream against such injustice? It is time to act.

  4. Felix Torres says:

    It effing pi#@es me off that these effing bungholes get away with murder! There needs to be some sort of federal inquiry about this crap. If not we need to organize and make federal authorities listen. So often we are just so glad it isn’t one of our loved ones so we sigh and say, “Pobrecito…” But we are afraid to do anything lest we draw attention to ourselves and suffer similiar fates. Right now I just want to punch something! WE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT PUT UP WITH THIS MIERDA ANYMORE!

    An angry effing Boricua proud to have served with Mexicano brothers and sister!

  5. David J Conrad says:

    It’s a tragedy that someone who served so honorably to defend his country would die in such a way.

    Great Story Mr. Ramos, but please refer to an Honorably Discharged service member as a Former Marine.
    The term “Ex-Marine” implies someone who left the Marine Corps under less than Honorable conditions.

    Clearly not the case with Jose Guerena.

  6. This is just horrible. It’s amazing how this has not surfaced in the news yet. Everyone re-post this on blogs or whatever and let it come out. This is a truly disgusting act that should not be hidden from the nation.

  7. amber baca says:

    Its only now surfacing because of what he did to the swat team. He pointed his rifle at them and told them f*** you AFTER

  8. amber baca says:

    they had identified themselves. they wont let the entire story out because they cant let the story out.

  9. What the hell went on here. I am a retired U.S. Army Officer, with duties as a special agent with the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID). Early on in my career, I was the OIC of a Special Reaction Team (SRT). To that end, this is a tragedy! There is no excuse to have discharged over 70 rounds , period!.

    Their intelligence was not worth a shit, they should have never stormed the home with his family inside. They easily could have arrested him by other means. I reside in Casa Grande and this is the first time I have heard of this matter. What the hell is up with AZ law enforcement.

    I can’t believe this! My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  10. Marco says:

    Even living in Brazil I was shocked with the news about the young Marine Killed by ” Acident” … shame on the law enforcemnt for bad inteligency on this particular case…..

  11. Mark Robinson says:

    First off regardless of what the cops thought why would you go in with a SWAT Team for something that you can drive over the border and just show up at certain places and get certified t use it for free. Second after shooting them, why not allow him medical attention and third why the cover up and the different stories. I am so enraged about this, and this is definitely an outgrowth of the anti-immigrant sentiment in The backwater state of AZ. RIP Jose, hopefully somebody will find justice for you and your friends and family.

  12. Please only list my first name in my comments I believe the commander of this swat team needs to resign , the rest of the team placed under suspension untill the investigation is completed . The F.B.I and the Governor of the State should investigate this mater . NO SWEEPING IT UNDER THE RUG . i HOPE THE FAMILY SUES THE STATE and they get a huge amount . This was WRONG . I have been a Police Chief , Lt. in two Sheriff’s Departments and a State trooper So I am speaking from Law Enforcement experience.

  13. Michael says:

    First of all, if you ask a Marine, there is no such thing as an “ex-Marine”. They will tell you “once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine”. Next, what difference does it make whether he was “Latino”? He was a Marine, isn’t that enough? It is for me. A full investigation needs to be pursued, charges need to be filed and the guilty need to go to prison if anything was done wrong. Also, his widow and children should be well compensated for this criminal act.

  14. Once a Marine, always a Marine, does not mean that one is right or wrong, honest or dishonest.

    Anthony Sowel, Charles Whitman and Lee Harvey Oswald are some examples of Marines gone bad.

    Watching the video showed poor SWAT tactics, but that did probably not make a difference in the outcome.

    Many of these situations can be avoided altogether by better intel, surveillance and detaining potential dangerous subjects prior to, and away from, the search location. Only fools rush in.

  15. I am outraged at this sloppy pd work an the ugly tactics of the areas police conduct they should be put on trial for murder and disbanded and replaced by a professional and properly trained cival servants.
    They really need to be fired and locked up!!!

  16. I wish there were more police like you buddy it’s getting out of hand really were do they get these trigger happy retards are they outsourced or something
    Confused !!!????


  1. […] The shocking nature of his death should warrant a mention in the mainstream press. What makes the tale even more interesting, however, is that the invaders turned out to be a SWAT team. They were executing a search warrant, but “no drugs, cash, or criminal evidence of any kind were found in the home. Neither Jose nor his wife Vanessa has a criminal record.” […]

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