United States Marine and Iraq War veteran Jose Guerena was killed on the doorstep of his home in 2011 by an Arizona SWAT Team. Guerena’s estate subsequently filed a lawsuit against Pima County Arizona, which has reached a settlement of $3.4 million.
Guerena’s estate accused law enforcement officials from the Pima County towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita, Arizona of acting negligently, claiming that emergency responders refused medical assistance to Guerena for more than an hour after he was shot, according to RT.
The lawsuit began after a SWAT Team entered Guerena’s home in May 2011, dispatched to the house on the basis of a drug trafficking investigation. 71 shots were fired at Guerena, and 22 of them hit him. Guerena had a legally-owned AR-15 rifle in his home, but it was not used during the raid.
After Guerena’s death, a Grand Jury investigation uncovered that Guerena and some of his family members were “involved in a narcotics ring,” RT reports. Following that discovery, charges against the SWAT officers involved in the shooting were dropped.
Pima County law enforcement authorities insisted that its officers acted within the scope of the law, claiming that they wanted to settle in order to avoid the large amount of legal fees that would accompany taking the case to court.
Deputy Tracy Suitt of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department explained the situation to the Arizona Daily Star: “The Pima County Sheriff’s Department strongly believes the events of May 5, 2011, were unfortunate and tragic, but the officers performed that day in accordance with their training and nationally recognized standards. However, legal advisers and insurers recognize the unpredictable resolutions of disputes at trial regarding police conduct and even ewll-accepted police tactcs. As a result, well-established business and insurance principles call for compromise and the resolution of disputed cases to mitigate risk and avoid the expense of a trial.”
Guerena’s wife Vanessa is scheduled to receive the $3.4 million settlement. She and Jose Guerena had two children.