Autopsy report released in May SWAT shooting

2011-06-07T00:00:00Z 2013-09-17T16:03:27Z Autopsy report released in May SWAT shootingBy Fernanda Echavarri Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 07, 2011 12:00 am  • 

The 26-year-old man shot and killed by a SWAT team during a raid last month was struck 22 times, and a toxicology exam showed there were no traces of drugs in his blood at the time of death, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

SWAT officers fired 71 rounds at Jose Guerena from the doorway of his home while serving a search warrant the morning of May 5, officials from Pima County Sheriff's Department have said. Fewer than a third of those shots hit Guerena, leaving 49 rounds passing through walls and some hitting nearby homes, according to reports released by the department last week.

Guerena's toxicology report showed there were no traces of drugs and only a low level of ethanol - 0.02 percent - some or all of which may have been produced after his death, a medical examiner from the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office wrote.

The report showed most of Guerena's gunshot wounds were to his legs and arms. He was struck three times on his torso and grazed by a bullet on the head, according to the autopsy report.

Guerena was at his home in the 7100 block of South Redwater Drive with his wife and their 4-year-old son about 9:30 a.m. when the Pima County Regional SWAT team arrived to serve a search warrant, documents show.

SWAT officers had the sirens on for about seven seconds when they approached the southwest-side house and knocked on the front door three times, announcing themselves for 15 seconds, a video released by the Sheriff's Department revealed.

Guerena's wife, Vanessa, said in previous interviews that she heard noise and saw a man outside but did not know it was a police officer. She said she awakened her husband, who had just gone to sleep after working a graveyard shift, and he told her to hide in a closet with their son.

Guerena was at the end of a hallway holding a rifle when officers began shooting at him, SWAT officers said in narrative reports of the raid.

The former U.S. Marine did not shoot, and his AR-15 rifle had the safety on when he was killed, according to sheriff's officials.

There were no signs of medical intervention, the autopsy report said.

Medical members of the SWAT team did not render aid to Guerena, and a medical team from the Drexel Heights Fire District was told to hold off for more than an hour, documents show.

The SWAT team sent two robots with cameras inside the house about 40 minutes after the shooting, documents show.

About an hour after the shooting, the SWAT team doctor pronounced Guerena dead at the scene based on video images from the robots, documents released by the Sheriff's Department show.

Detectives seized body armor, a U.S. Border Patrol hat, two rifles and a gun from Guerena's house as part of a drug-trafficking investigation, reports show. Three other homes nearby were searched that morning as part of the investigation, in which detectives seized about $100,000 cash, marijuana, weapons and a stolen vehicle, according to documents released last week.

 

Contact reporter Fernanda Echavarri at fechavarri@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.

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