Thursday, May 26, 2011

Open Letter to Any and All Law Enforcement Agencies: Please let us help you prevent this type of tragedy

On May 5th, 2011, Jose Guerena was with his wife and young child (their six year old was at school) in their home in Arizona.  Guerena, a Marine who had served two tours of combat in Iraq, was asleep after working the graveyard shift the night before.  A fully armed SWAT team, in an attempt to crack down on local Marijuana trafficking, broke into the Guerena's home.  Jose told his wife and son to hide, and went out into the hallway of their home to confront the would-be attackers with his AK-47 in hand.  As a combat-trained Marine, he did the right thing.  He kept the safety mechanism engaged on his weapon until he could identify the threat - but also called out to the possible threat, "I've got something for you; I've gotten something for you guys."  The police responded by opening fire, hitting Jose with more than 60 rounds in about seven seconds.  They then ushered Jose's wife and child out of their home, refusing to get medical attention for the veteran, but instead leaving him for more than an hour while he bled to death alone.

The police have argued that they announced their presence with sirens and a bull horn, but none of the Guerena's neighbors heard any such announcement.  After a thorough search of the couple's home, they also found no evidence of any drug activity.

So basically, one day Jose Guerena was a hard working veteran who was working long shifts to save money for a new home for his young family, and the next he had been gunned down without ever firing a shot for responding exactly how 80% of the combat veterans I know would have reacted.  He thought he was protecting his family... and he died, bleeding and alone, for absolutely no reason.

I understand that in the heat of a moment horrible mistakes can be made, but this situation should have NEVER occurred.  This SWAT team, and every member of our nation's law enforcement agencies, should be trained on how specifically to deal with our nation's more than 2 million combat veterans... if this training doesn't occur, I fear we will continue to see such needless, senseless, heartbreaking tragedies occur.

So, if you are a member of a law enforcement agency, please, PLEASE reach out to us.  Our organization's primary purpose is to educate veterans, loved ones, and the public about the injuries and needs of our nation's combat heroes.  We will work with you, provide you with training materials, and work to find a way to make sure the members of your agency have the opportunity to understand the unique mindset of the men and women who have so bravely served their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This type of tragedy does not have to occur... but is UNAVOIDABLE if we don't take action TOGETHER to stop it.  We deeply appreciate the service you give as heroes of your local communities.  Please let us serve you by helping you understand your fellow heroes, those who live in your communities after serving in combat, so that all of those you have sworn to protect and serve are truly protected.

For more information, please contact us by e-mail at info -at-

Brannan Vines
Proud wife of an OIF Veteran
Founder of - an organization dedicated to helping heroes and their loved ones survive and thrive after combat with real world info about PTSD, TBI, and more!

You can read more about this story here:


  1. The really sad part about why this happened in the first place is that those who should know don't!!! Brannan, thank you for your insight... you nailed it... Acute trauma syndrome and post-traumatic stress syndrome (much less PTSDisorder) are usually avoided because the very people who should know are dealing with there own traumatic backgrounds instead!!! And, some of the worst offenders are cops, firefighters and many other first responders (some of whom are themselves vets)... and debriefing by the military on how to be a civilian again apparently isn't high on their lists of things to do!!! Besides, Arizona's "catch the illigal" law isn't helping someone like this either... ie, cops gone wild... if that's truly the case!!! Ed USMC 59-85

  2. My husband is a combat Marine and you bet he would have picked up a weapon in our home if someone kicked in the door. I watched the video and I can't figure out what they were thinking. It doesn't add up. I pray for his young wife and family. It is a tragedy that will keep occurring because there is a lack of understand from the public and our law enforcement about PTSD. God help us all.

    Proud Marine Wife