Family of Tucson man killed by SWAT hires high profile attorney
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV)- The attorney representing the family of a man gunned down by a Pima County Regional SWAT team said 6 days after the shooting, the public and family have more questions than answers.
Christopher Scileppi is representing the family of Jose Guerena. Guerena, a former Marine, was killed May 5, after a SWAT team entered his home. Deputies said they were trying to serve a search warrant in a drug investigation. According to officials the SWAT team broke down the front door to find Guerena crouched in the hall, with an assault rifle pointed at them.
Authorities claim Guerena didn't fire, but the SWAT team did. Seventy-one rounds were fired in about seven seconds. Nine On Your Side has learned that medical attention for Guerena was kept on hold for more than an hour before being sent away. Guerena died at the scene.
Guerena's wife, Vanessa, was hiding in the closet with the couple's 4-year-old child during the ordeal. She said the family initially thought they were the victims of a home invasion in the moments before SWAT broke down their door. She said when she emerged from the closet after the gunfire stopped, she saw that her husband was still alive, moaning in pain.
"I was going to touch Jose because he was [moaning]," she said. "And I saw his stomach, and all the blood on the floor. So then they [deputies] came and into my house and they get me."
She told KGUN9 News she called 911 and pleaded with deputies to treat her husband's wounds.
"The only thing that I told them was take him to the hospital," Vanessa said. She added that since Guerena's death, her son has asked if his father was a "bad guy."
According to Scileppi and the Guerena family, Jose Guerena had a clean record. Scileppi said his number one mission is to restore the former Marine's good name for the sake of the family.
"One of the first and foremost things in Vanessa's mind, his wife's mind, is to clear his name and to clear his name with the community, and also with his own children, who saw the remnants of what happened," Scileppi said during a press conference Wednesday.
Scileppi criticized the sheriff's department for changing their story about what happened inside the house. At a news conference Wednesday, Scileppi said,"Yesterday the story changed yet again, contending Jose was crouching down and said 'I got something for you.'" He added,"Which of these stories are true or whether any of these stories are true, nobody knows at this point."
As for the hour and 14 minutes paramedics waited to treat Guerena before ultimately being sent away, Scileppi said he'll investigate that, too.
"We're going to be investigating every and all aspects of this case," Scileppi added.
Scileppi also represents former Nogales Mayor Octavio Garcia Von Borstel in his bribery, corruption and money laundering case.