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SWAT team attorney reveals details of May 5 shooting

SWAT team attorney reveals details of May 5 shooting

CREATED May 27, 2011

Reporter: Tammy Vo
Web Producer: Katie Merideth, Ina Ronquillo

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Attorney Mike Storie is now defending the actions of the SWAT team members who shot and killed former marine, Jose Guerena, in the May 5th shooting on the far southwest side of town.

Storie held a news conference on Thursday morning defending the actions taken by the SWAT team and gives further explanation to the questions that the public has been demanding answers to. One of those questions:why did officers not immediately give medical treatment to Guerena?

"They still don't know how many shooters are inside, how many guns are inside, how many people are inside and they still have to assume that they will be ambushed if they walk in this house" said Storie.

Storie claims, the SWAT team arrived at the residence in identified police vehicles with lights and sirens and that clearly identified themselves by yelling "Police" in english and spanish at the front door for nearly one minute. Storie says that based on their prior surveillance, there was strong evidence to suggest that whoever occupied the house was involved in violent crime.

Before entering the home, Storie says that SWAT officers surveillance on the home for at least several days and determined that the man inside not only appeared to be Guerena, but was counter-surveilling the SWAT officers themselves. In the opinion of Storie, that can indicate suspicious involvement. Another reason why Storie says that medical help was not called after dozens of shots were fired at Guerena: SWAT officers also believed that there could possibly be more gunmen and hostages inside the home.

Upon entering the home, Storie says that the officers saw Guerena raise his gun at the end of the hallway and told the SWAT team that he, "had something for them". Storie says that it was enough justification for the officers to fire.

Why did sheriff's deputies originally say that Guerena fired at officers, and later retract that statement? Storie says that the officers saw a muzzle flash which is a term used to describe the visible light expelled from the muzzle of a firearm when it is discharged. Storie says that many things can cause an officer to think they see a muzzle flash, including the reflection from the officer's weapons going off,  from bullets actually striking Guerena's gun or from flash bangs which were also used by the SWAT team.

When the SWAT team opened fire on Guerena, Storie says that they saw him in a crouching or slouched position, then his body then went out of sight. In that time frame, a SWAT officer also fell over leading fellow officers to believe that one of their own had been struck. That's when they exited the home. At that point, officers were unsure if Guerena was still alive and if he was still a threat to officers.

In that time span, SWAT officers were able to escort the mother and child out of the home and robots were sent in the house to confirm that there was no additional threat according to Storie. Once Guerena's wife and child were out of the house, she begged officers to get medical attention for her husband, but they didn't.

"You know what she also tells the officers? She tells them there's no guns in the house. That's a flat out lie and they know it's a lie. Where's her credibility? Do officers rely on her word to just walk in there and help her husband? They cannot" said Storie.

Once officers sent a robot in the home to determine that any sort of perceived threat was gone, Storie says that officers searched the home and found several weapons, body armor and partial articles of a law enforcement uniform which supports information that law enforcement originally believed that this was an organization tied to home invasions. Storie says they also found a photo found under Guerena's bed of Jesus Malverde who Storie calls a "patron saint drug runner". These items found inside the home were originally listed on the search warrant, says Storie.

Storie says that the previous comments of Christopher Scileppi, the family's attorney, were reckless and irresponsible and that Storie is just out for money.