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Posts Tagged ‘Tragedy’


Former US Marine José Guerena, killed in his Tucson home by the SWAT team

Reports out of Tucson have published a harrowing 911 call, where a woman describes the deadly situation in her home, as her husband, former US Marine José Guerena, lied dying on the ground, the victim of a SWAT raid that killed Guerena in a barrage of 71 gunshots.

As the Arizona Daily Star reports:

Often through tears and sometimes in broken English, Vanessa Guerena, tells 911 operators that her husband had been shot by a “bunch of people” who opened the door of their southwest-side home and “just shoot him.” Meanwhile, dispatchers worked to determine if she was calling from a house where the SWAT team was serving a search warrant, audio released Friday by Drexel Heights Fire Department reveals. It takes about an hour for waiting medics to know what happened, and the man is dead before fire crews are allowed into the home.
Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine, was sleeping after the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission mine about 9:30 a.m. when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife has said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.
For about five minutes after Guerena was shot, his wife stays on the phone trying to explain what happened and asking for an ambulance.
More than a week later, few details about the investigation that brought the SWAT team to the home Guerena shared with his wife and their two young sons are known. Details of the search warrant have not been made public and deputies would not comment on what was seized from the home.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has provided no details about the investigation that prompted the raid and little information about the moments leading up to 71 gunshots being fired at Guerena, whose gun had the safety on. He was shot 60 times, doctors told the family. Initially the Sheriff’s Department said Guerena fired at officers, but they retracted that this week. Drexel Heights provided audio of the 911 calls after the Star filed a public records request.

The following YouTube video is a recording of the 911 call:

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We love our friends on Twitter. We love the community we have met there, especially the connections we have made through #LATISM. Today, we also had the pleasure of asking Tucson native and Twitter friend, Ana Gonzales Lewis, her thoughts about the tragedy. Here is what she said:

Tucson’s Ana Gonzales Lewis

JRV: As a Twitter profile who tweets about local issues in Tucson, how would you say the community is handling this tragedy?
AGL: I think that this tragedy has had a huge impact on the entire city. For example, a local non-profit organization, Ben Bells distributes handmade clay wind chimes in secret to heroes every week. This week, Ben Bells distributed about 1,000 bells, but 1,400 volunteers showed up to help out. There were more volunteers than bells! Everyone is feeling the need for unity and community right now.

JRV: How has this crime impacted the Tucson community?
AGL: The community has had to deal with the long-term impact of the fact that in most places, it’s legal to bring a concealed weapon. At the local community college that [suspect Jared] Loughner attended, they have had to have mental health experts speak to the instructors, to help them deal with mentally ill students and the signs they need to be more aware of.

JRV: What do you think will happen once the “cameras all leave?”
AGL: Once the cameras leave, I don’t think Tucson is going to be much different from it is now. Yes, it will heal, but even though the metropolitan Tucson area has a million people in it, it is very much a town at heart. It’s pretty much what you see on camera. A lovely college town with mountains, golf courses and the best Mexican food/margaritas.

JRV: Do you think the Tucson community will heal or is this just a sign that the worst is still in front of us? Share your thoughts about this.
AGL: I am worried about the long-term picture of Tucson. We still have a 22-year-old assassin that needs to go to trial. And, I don’t think Gabby Giffords will ever be the same. A gunshot wound to the head is serious business. Her beauty and strength (as I believe with all my heart, she will be back), will be a heart-wrenching reminder of how we need to do better.

JRV: Has you seen a more respectful tone among contrasting views in the Tuscon community or is it still “business as usual?” Can you provide examples?
AGL: There are a lot of emotions being felt throughout Tucson right now — anger, heartbreak, frustration and even some finger-pointing, but all-in-all, it seems like most people, as President Obama said, are trying to use “healing words.”

To meet Ana and connect with her (she is fabulous), follow her here on Twitter. We stand united with Tucson and America.

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The Tucson murders have become a part of all us. Today, we had the opportunity to interview Tuscon’s Peter C. Rodriguez, Jr., one of our #LATISM Twitter friends, about his beloved city and how he thinks the city is reacting. Here is what Peter said:

Tucson’s Peter C. Rodriguez, Jr.

JRV: As a Twitter profile who tweets about local issues in Tucson, how would you say the community is handling this tragedy?
PR: Tucson is coming together even more than ever to handle this horrible tragedy. All over the city, I see examples everyday of an already close community coming together even more to heal each other.

JRV: How has this crime impacted the Tucson community?
PR: The initial impact was shock and disbelief. “How can something like this happen in our community?” Then I noticed the city of Tucson, my fellow neighbors, and citizens come together in support of everyone involved in this tragic event.

JRV: What do you think will happen once the “cameras all leave?”
PR: I believe that Tucson will carry on stronger than ever, and we will not allow the memories of this tragic event be forgotten. I personally will not forget those that have lost their lives that day visiting what was suppose to be a peaceful event, especially 9-yr Christina Green. Mr. Obama stated, “We should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations”. I plan to honor this statement.

JRV: Do you think the Tucson community will heal or is this just a sign that the worst is still in front of us? Share your thoughts about this.
PR: The healing has begun, there are countless memorials all over our beautiful city. The memorials keep growing and I am proud to see the Tucson coming together by the hundreds to heal.

JRV: Has you seen a more respectful tone among contrasting views in the Tuscon community or is it still “business as usual?” Can you provide examples?
PR: I believe a respectful tone is present in our community and Arizona. There will be always be different views on religion, politics, gun control, SB1070, and other topics in Arizona, but there must be respect for each others views and opinions first, above all.

To connect with Peter on Twitter, visit his profile and say hi. Here is to Tucson, America’s city.

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The last few days, we have been reading several blog posts from all over the Internet about the Tuscon tragedy and we think that the following post by Ulises Silva, which appeared today on the Being Latino blog, expresses a lot of the themes that we think are related to this crime in a way that is hopeful and positive. Here is to civility and to the challenge we should all accept as a nation. Everyone who feels a desire to process all the conflicting issues regarding this horrible act of violence, must read A State of Madness, A Call to Reason.

A few excerpts from the post really hit home with us. It starts:

Sometimes, there are no words. No explanations. No ways to make light of the situation. Only ironies. Ironies that speak for themselves.

It focuses on the tragedy:

Regardless of what the news reports in the coming weeks, what happens next is really up to all of us. Because for all of Saturday’s horror—the most horrific being the death of a nine-year-old who probably couldn’t understand our fixation with red and blue states—we are now at a moment of learning and opportunity.

I’ve often thought that history will not look kindly on this era. We’ve allowed network news to manipulate our political consciousness to the point that Abraham Lincoln would lose a modern-day election. We tweet simple thoughts to complex problems in 140 characters or less. We worry about who’s going to be voted off what island rather than what holes Congress is voting us into.

And yet, here we are, rudely awoken to the consequences of our inability to have civilized disagreements. To the consequences of spewing rhetoric fit for warring nations, not fellow citizens. To the consequences of our combative, disrespectful, and oftentimes selfish ways of dealing with problems and disagreements.

So I ask: How will history look at us? What is the legacy we’re leaving behind?

And it concludes with a message for all of us:

When these days become a museum exhibit hall centuries from now, what will it say about us? And what will it say about this past Saturday? Was it the start of something terrible? Or of something amazing?

know we’re more enlightened than those in The Dark Ages. Let’s start acting like it. It’s our legacy, and our children’s legacy, we’re actively creating, after all.

Bravo, Ulises. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We are so proud to be associated with you and BeingLatino.

PS Ulises is also a LatinoLit Renaissance man and author. You can visit his fiction here: SpaceChurros.

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