SWAT and the Second Amendment

On May 5, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in Tucson, a multi-agency SWAT team served a search warrant at the home of Jose Guerena (a Guerena case archive may be found here). Guerena, a former Marine combat veteran, was sound asleep, having returned home from the midnight shift at a local copper mine only a short time earlier.

Guerena's wife Vanessa saw armed men in the front yard and woke Jose, who had time only to hide her and their son in a closet as far from the front door as possible and to take up a rifle to meet the unknown threat. Jose would not take his rifle off safe or fire a shot. Smashing in the door, five members of the SWAT team fired 71 rounds into the home, shredding it from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. They hit Jose 22 times and denied him medical care for more than 74 minutes, ensuring his death. They even managed to shoot the front door, doorframe, and the walls around the door multiple times. Miraculously, Vanessa and her son were not harmed.

The search warrant affidavit upon which the police relied contained no probable cause to search Jose's home, but a judge -- believed to be Charles V. Harrington -- authorized it anyway, and shortly after the botched raid, Judge Harrington ordered it sealed. No evidence of the drugs -- or anything else illegal -- the police supposedly sought was found. The officers did try, weakly and briefly, to identify themselves before smashing in the door. They did not have a no-knock warrant. Several officers initially claimed Jose fired at them or pointed his rifle at them, but it quickly became clear they had no idea what Jose did, nor could they explain which officer fired the first shot or why.

On July 15, 2012, at 1:30 a.m. in Leesburg, Florida, Lake County deputies knocked on the door of 26-year-old Andrew Lee Scott's apartment, thinking attempted murder suspect Jonathan Brown was inside.  They did not identify themselves in any way. Brown had been seen earlier in the apartment complex, and his motorcycle was parked near Scott's apartment. This was the only "evidence" of his presence. When Scott opened his door with a gun in his hand, a deputy opened fire, killing Scott. Brown was later found in a nearby apartment and arrested.