Support our mission

Iraq war veteran, Jose Guerena Ortiz, had been turned down for a position with the U.S. Border Patrol due to problems with his vision. Instead, he took a mining job. He was 27.

On May 5, after a 12-hour night shift, Ortiz was awakened by his wife Vanessa who told him someone was firing a gun outside. She had seen a dark suited man pass by the window, not knowing it was the Pima County Sheriff's Department SWAT team executing a search warrant.

Ortiz was only trying to protect his family when he picked up an AR-15 assault rifle, his wife said. The officers saw it differently.

According to the Associated Press, the officers - four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 - fired 71 rounds, striking Ortiz 22 times. It all happened within 8 seconds of them breaking down the front door.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was at the home because Guerena was suspected of being involved in a drug-trafficking organization and that the shooting happened because he arrived at the door brandishing a gun. The county prosecutor's office says the shooting was justified.

But six months after the May 5 police gunfire shattered a peaceful morning and a family's life, investigators have made no arrests in the case that led to the raid. Outraged friends, co-workers and fellow Marines have called the shooting an injustice and demanded further investigation. A family lawyer has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the sheriff's office. And amid the outcry in online forums and social media outlets, the sheriff's 54-second video, which found its way to YouTube, has drawn more than 275,000 views. Read 'SWAT team's shooting of Marine causes outrage' by the Associated Press.


stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up