Recently by William Norman Grigg: Death Squad Damage Control in Tucson
“Why, why did you kill him?” a traumatized Vanessa Guerena begged to know as she was interrogated in a makeshift “command center” by detectives from the same Sheriff’s Office that had just slaughtered her husband Jose. Her questioners, eager to exploit her trauma to extract information, initially refused to give her a straightforward answer.
Jose, who had finished a graveyard shift at the Asarco copper mine, was sleeping when a SWAT team from the Pima County Sheriff’s Office laid siege to his home on the morning of May 5. Vanessa was doing laundry, and the couple’s four-year-old son Joel was watching Transformers, when the SWAT raiders pulled up in a Bear Cat armored vehicle.
The siren sounded for less than ten seconds; just a few seconds later, the order to “breach” the door was given because, as on-scene commander Deputy Bob Krygier later explained, nobody inside the house had “submitted to our authority.”
Vanessa initially thought that there was an emergency “somewhere in the neighborhood,” and called the police. When she saw armed intruders on her property, Vanessa screamed for her husband to wake up. Jose told Vanessa to take their younger son (whose older brother, Jose, Jr., was in school) and hide in the closet, while he went to confront the invaders.