Oath Keepers march for former Marine killed by SWAT
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - In the aftermath of the SWAT shooting that killed a former Marine, a group of public safety officers, military personnel, and veterans are calling on Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to change the way he uses the SWAT team.
The Oath Keepers came to Tucson on Memorial Day to honor Jose Guerena, 26, who was shot and killed May 5 while the Pima Co. SWAT team attempted to serve a search warrant at his home. The group marched to the Guerena home Monday and held a vigil to remember the father and former Marine. The Oath Keepers believe SWAT teams are being overused in the wrong types of situations, and that local law enforcement agencies should scale back their use.
The family of Jose Guerena still has many questions about the shooting that took his life. They walked side by side with the Oath Keepers, a group dedicated to protect the Constitution and the rights it gives. Founder Stewart Rhodes told 9 On Your Side the May 5 SWAT incident crossed the line.
"All you know is you got yelling men entering your home with guns in their hands, how are you going to react? it puts them in a no-win situation," Rhodes said.
Just days before the march, the Pima Co. Sheriff's Department released a video showing the moments before, during, and after the deadly shooting. The video clearly shows that the SWAT team approached the Guerena home with sirens and lights on, despite claims by Vanessa Guerena that the family heard nothing before SWAT broke down their door. The family's attorney has argued that Jose Guerena was waiting for SWAT members with an assault rifle because he thought he was the victim of a home invasion. KGUN9 reporter Sergio Avila asked Rhodes about the latest evidence and whether the video changed the way the group felt about the shooting.
"Just because they blew the alarm doesn't mean someone inside heard it. People here in Arizona run their air conditioner all the time, you're running music, who knows? The only real chance you have of knowing who it is once they knock on the door and give you a chance to respond. The knock came, it was a knock and then four seconds later the door is knocked in," Rhodes said.
Jack Anaya was friends with Jose Guerena and worked with him for about a year at a local mine. He's backing his friend's wife's claim that no one heard the officers coming.
"I am glad to see they did announce themselves but when we get off of our 12-hour graveyard shift he was only an hour-and-a-half into his sleep, you're not going to be able to wake up and comprehend what's going on," Anaya said.
Guerena's family wishes they could wake up from this nightmare. During a moment of silence the drummer sounded 71 beats, the same number of shots fired at Guerena. People then left roses in front of the home where the shooting took place.
"This should not have happened anywhere in America, it should not have happened in Arizona," said Richard Mack, former Graham County Sheriff. He told 9 On Your Side he believes SWAT is being overused.
"They go on too many mundane calls. Calls that don't merit a SWAT team," Mack said.
The Oath Keepers are calling on Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to reevaluate how the sheriff's department uses the SWAT team. They're expected to deliver a petition asking for change to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne on Tuesday.