The Main Stream

Nov 2, 2011 1:32 AM

14 defendants named in Guerena lawsuit

TUCSON - The family of a Tucson man killed by a Pima County SWAT team filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Jose Guereña died May 5th, during a raid at his southwest side home, reportedly after he pointed a rifle at officers. The team fired 71-shots in all, nearly two dozen hit the former marine. Weeks later court documents tied Guereña to a drug trafficking ring; something the family's attorney said isn't true.

Originally the Guerena family filed an intent to sue hoping to get a $20-million settlement. That never happened so the official lawsuit was filed by their attorney and in it, 14 different people and agencies were named including Pima County, the Town of Marana, Town of Sahuarita and each individual SWAT member involved.

The Guerena family attorney Chris Scileppi said, the lawsuit is all about negligence ranging from signing the original search warrant, to the shooting itself and a lack medical attention shortly afterwards.

It won't bring Jose Guerena back, but Scillepi said it will help the family. He said, "Vanessa, Jose, and Joel have suffered immense lose from the death of their husband and father. This lawsuit seeks in part to make them whole."

But the SWAT team's attorney Mike Storie said the claims in the lawsuit aren't even close to true.

Storie said, "The claims that there was negligence or will full misconduct is absolutely ridicules and to say that any one of them was negligent in their duties is just showing ignorance in police policy."

And with those extreme differences it's almost certain to go to trial; something both sides said they're ok with.

Scileppi said, "They've been not providing information we've requested. Litigation gives us the power to subpoena these records, subpoena the documents and people who we need to find out everything we need to find out so that 1. This case can go forward with litigation and 2. This never happens again."

Storie on the other hand said, "This was all about a man who made bad choices and when you make bad choices to men who are armed, uniformed, and there for a lawful reason, bad things are going to happen."

As for a timeline, it could be awhile before this goes before a jury partly because of the busy court schedule but also because this is a little more complicated considering there are 14 defendants, some of which aren't just individual people, but towns.

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