Posted: May 30, 2011 5:34 PM
Updated: May 30, 2011 5:38 PM
TUCSON - Hundreds gathered in Pima County Monday for a fallen Marine, but this was no typical Memorial Day ceremony.
A group called Oath Keepers organized a march and protest for Jose Guerena.
Guerena was killed by a Pima County SWAT team on May 5th. They entered his home with a search warrant, but deputies said when they went in, Guerena aimed an assault rifle at them. They fired 71 rounds and killed him.
More than a hundred people took part in the march, some of which came from as far away as Vegas. The people said they were there for a number of reasons: pay tribute to a fallen marine, support the victim's family, and protest the tactics of the SWAT team.
Lilly Gonzalez is part of Oath Keepers and drove down from Vegas. She said, "Even if it was just one. The fact that he was murdered is the issue. He's an American citizen. He served our country and deserved a hell of a lot better."
For some it was the fact that he was a Marine, but for others it was that the SWAT team was even there in the first place.
Former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack said, "It could have been done so easily, but to march a SWAT team into a home of a trained Marine is absolutely absurd and inexcusable."
Stewart Rhodes is the founder of Oath Keepers. He said, "That doesn't make tactical sense. If he's really a dangerous guy, why not stop him on the street on his way home."
And for some, justice isn't enough. Mack said, "There is no excuse for this. No justification for this. Everyone in Arizona, especially in Pima County owes a deep and profound apology to Vanessa Guerena, her family and her sons."
But the attorney for the SWAT team, Mike Storie said they shouldn't hold their breath. Storie said, "I cannot fathom what apology is required at this point."
As for policy changes he said there's nothing wrong with sending the SWAT team in like they did. Storie said, "There is nothing wrong with policy. This policy has worked for years and it will continue to work for years. My advice would be if you hear lights and sirens going, and you hear the police pounding on your door, let them in."
This debate is far from over. It will actually be back in court Tuesday to discuss the possibility of unsealing the search warrant that was served on the day of the shooting.
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