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Senior fires at police during raid and lives!

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by HarryB, Dec 22, 2006.

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  1. HarryB

    HarryB Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Valley of the Sun

    December 22, 2006
    Family seeks justice for botched police raid
    By Nick Martin

    Sonia Celaya stared at the ground, her hands smudged with black, her face hard. The Phoenix house her parents lived in for 35 years stood behind her, gutted and charred. It smelled of water and burned wood. She had been living there, too, and everything she and her parents owned was destroyed.

    For this, she blamed Gilbert and Scottsdale police.

    "One of my neighbors (called and) said they were throwing bombs at my dad," the 43-yearold woman said Thursday.

    The night before, Gilbert SWAT team members, with Scottsdale police's help, broke through the windows and front door of the house using flashbang grenades to distract anyone inside. They came with a warrant in hand to search for items stolen by a 23-year-old suspect they consider dangerous.

    Instead, they found Celaya's 73-year-old father, Salvador, a man suffering from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. He shot at the officers thinking they were robbers invading the house, she said.

    Also inside were Celaya's 69-year-old mother, Carlota, who suffers from cancer, and 26-year-old nephew Ronnie Vance. As the commotion erupted, the pair took cover.

    Before breaking in, officers knocked and used a loud speaker to announce they were serving a warrant, said Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Duncan.

    Celaya said if that's true, her parents and nephew have told her they didn't hear it.

    Within a couple minutes of the announcement, flames appeared in a bedroom of the house at 6802 S. Eighth St. The flash-bang grenades, which are nonlethal explosives often used in SWAT situations, likely set the house ablaze, Celaya said.

    Phoenix Fire Department investigators have yet to determine the cause.

    Duncan said neither the SWAT team nor firefighters could get near the house while Celaya's father was still carrying the gun.

    Officers used a beanbag gun and tear gas to try to drive Salvador Celaya out of the house while it burned. Eventually, he ran out to the backyard, where police tackled him and took the gun.

    And then, the house was fully engulfed. No one was hurt, but the house was destroyed. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

    "It is very unfortunate that the house burned," Duncan said. "Our officers used extreme restraint in dealing with a man that was firing at officers."

    "This is wrong," Sonia Celaya said. "They threw my parents on the street as if they were criminals."

    Police briefly detained everyone after the incident. Salvador Celaya was taken to a police station for questioning. He was released soon after, but Phoenix police are investigating the shooting.

    So what led Gilbert and Scottsdale police to the Phoenix house in the first place? Police have not said if either the Celayas or Vance, the nephew, are suspected of crimes and none have been arrested.

    But both police departments have been investigating several crimes they believe are connected to one man: Erasmo Ruiz Villarreal, 23.

    Earlier this week near the house, police found a Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicle they believe Villarreal had stolen Sunday during a home invasion in Scottsdale, according to Scottsdale police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark. And a truck used in the crime was registered to the Phoenix house, Clark said.

    Moreover, "other investigative sources" pointed to the house as a place where police could find stolen goods from a Gilbert burglary Villarreal is suspected of, Clark said.

    Sonia Celaya said the truck that was registered to the house is hers, but it was in the repair shop Sunday and it had not been stolen or missing.

    Villarreal is a suspect in a carjacking, kidnapping, aggravated assault and home invasion. Police believe he was helped by one or two people in each crime. They consider him dangerous. Gilbert police ask anyone with information on him or the case to call (480) 503-6500.

    The Celayas are staying with Sonia's brother, a lawyer, in Tempe. They are considering legal recourse against the police departments, she said.

    As is standard with any police shooting, the Gilbert Police Department's Office of Professional Standards will conduct an inquiry to determine if proper procedures were followed, Duncan said.

    Thursday afternoon, Gilbert police revisited the site, raking through the house's remains for signs of the stolen goods. Duncan didn't know whether anything was found.

    Sonia Celaya was not home when the incident took place, but she said she wished she had been there to try to prevent what happened.

    "Thirty-five years they've been here," she lamented. "Thirty-five years."

    Before the fire, the family was getting ready for Christmas - and Celaya's 44th birthday on Dec. 27. "Happy birthday," she said bitterly.
  2. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    When will police be able to use a super-secret investigatory device such as, oh, I don't know, the telephone?:rolleyes:

    Dial up the telephone number and say, "Yo, is IceDawg (or Chewy, VataLoco, Cledus Lee, or whatever) up in your crib?"

    If he is, you go and arrest him; if not you knock on the door and say "search warrant, have a seat in the chair." My guys get arrested by getting thrown out of bars across the street from the courthouse or driving around without license plates while smoking a jay (both really happened). Are we really this concerned with budgets that we have to play mall ninja and with big boy toys?:uhoh:

    Police are "raking through the debris" in order to find something? Great googley moogley, why are you rubbing the family's face in it, Chief Wiggum? Not only do they burn down a man's home they have to desecrate the grave?

    The police used "extreme restraint", Chief Wiggum? Hello, McFly, you burned his *&^%$# house down to cinders and then shot a grandfather with your beanbag toy.

    The article says the family is considering civil action--I would hope so!:scrutiny: As well, I hope the citizens of Gilbert show up at their next city council meeting and pitch a royal fit. I hope both state and federal prosecutors follow up on this. Unbelievable, flashbangs for a "search warrant." This stuff must stop.
  3. pcosmar

    pcosmar member

    Sep 9, 2006
    UP Michigan
    It seems to be just another "Isolated Incident".
    I wonder how many incidents it will take to be common rather than isolated.

    I also found this, http://www.theclairefiles.com/Personal/houseraid.html While doing a search for this story. An interesting read.

    Five Die in Wrong House Raid

    The very angry and very brave Mike Kemp gave me the idea for this one. He's the Gadsden Minuteman who videotaped and exposed the blatant racism at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms "Good Old Boys" rally. For that act of principle and courage, he ended up being targeted by law enforcement, eventually subjected to a warrantless raid, and sent to jail for using medical marijuana.

    Mike had just gotten out of jail and was in a bitter mood when the events occurred that inspired this story
  4. Handgun Midas

    Handgun Midas Member

    May 21, 2006
    Northern Kentucky
    "Not so much with the house, though. No, we burned that one right to the ground. Oops."

    Awesome that the innocent old man didn't get shot and only had his house burned down.

    This is an every-week occurance.
    When is the nation-wide backlash going to come?
  5. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    And this search warrant was so important that they have not even arrested the sons they were investigating? That right there should tell you this smells. If they were just searching for stolen property, why did they need a SWAT assault on the house?

    I assume that neighbors could back up the claim about using a loud speaker? How much time between the announcement and the attempted entry? If it was less than 5 minutes, it might as well be a no-knock IMHO.
  6. Fosbery

    Fosbery Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Great Britain
    How can police possibly justify FLASHBANGING a house before determining exactly what and who was inside? Especially in a non-emergency situation like this (no hostages, no terrorists etc).

    I you've ever seen the Iranian Embassy siege video where the SAS use flashbangs you'll know that those things are no joke.
  7. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    No no, these things never actually happen.

    By post #10 someone will be along to tell you why......
  8. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Apparently, the old man didn't actually hurt anyone by shooting.

    I have to ask the police and the judge: Was this SWAT raid worth putting their officers at risk? If a police officer had been injured or killed, would they still think it was worth it? They haven't even arrested the kid they suspected of working with the real criminal they are after (sounds reasonable right?).

    Maybe some police getting hurt would force them to question their procedures on these cases, but I would not want to wish that on anyone. Eventually, police are going to get killed over this silly crap though and for very little benefit.
  9. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Delaware home of tax free shopping
    SWAT Teams are very expensive. Money for equipment, money for training, time off the regular job for training and exercises. The teams were envisioned as being needed to deal with the increasingly well armed and violent drug offenders that the police were dealing with. You know the well armed well organized extremely violent offenders holed up in an urban fortress like in Scarface:confused: :eek: The problem is that there just aint enough of these well armed fortresses to keep the SWAT guys busy. So when they go before the number crunchers to ask for X million dollars to fund SWAT, those darn beancounters ask questions like how many times did you deploy this year....

    So since the need for SWAT is relatively rare in most small and medium sized cities, they need to find a use for the SWAT Guys.

    Mission creep, and the result is that if you use a heavily armed highly trained band of soldiers to serve warrants and make routine arrests, some folks are just gonna get shot, dogs will get shot, houses will get burned down etc.

    Military Tactics designed for a battlefield, have no place in police work 99.99% of the time.

    We need to deploy all of our SWAT teams to Iraq where they can put their trainning to an appropriate use, against a heavily armed violent adversary.
  10. clt46910

    clt46910 Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    I agree with Master Blaster...we have too much a military mind set with most our police today. They are peace officers, not elite military units. It seems that any hint of possible violence requires a full attack. There is the possibility of violence everyday....even for us civilians...but we are not allowed to have the tools to protect ourselves most the time. But our peace officers are allowed to use extreme measures for minor offenses because they feel threaten?

    They do deal with the bottom of the barrel in people most the time, but that is what they signed up for. If they can not handle it then get out of it. I do have friends in law enforcement...a large number of them agree things are getting out of hand. I know a lot of good people get out of law enforcement because of the attitude of the law enforcement agencies not the stress of the job.

    Then again I am rather opinionated about things....but I have had to deal with the news media in the pass...and know that I would never believe anything I read or hear from a news agency
  11. Handgun Midas

    Handgun Midas Member

    May 21, 2006
    Northern Kentucky
    No! The primary question is was this SWAT raid worth putting the lives of citizens at risk?

    At an almost weekly basis the answer the police forces across the nation give us is "Yes."

    Enough wrong houses have been bashed in and enough innocent people have been slain by
    an institution that is supposed to be protecting them.

    As screwed up as that already is, it would be irrevocably more so if it is the death of an
    official home invader that finally brings the shock and outrage to the boiling point.
  12. Langenator

    Langenator Member

    Jul 30, 2003
    Ft Belvoir, VA
    As far as I can tell, this is the sum total of their basis for raiding the house:

    -a Cadillac Escalade they think was stolen was "near the house" at some point, which means it was probably parked somewhere on the block.

    -a truck they think was connected (no word of how they connected it). But the truck registered there was in the shop on the day of the crime (maybe the plates were "borrowed"? Or someone faked the address on their registration?) Did they bother to check the name on the registration, maybe?

    -"other investigative sources"-meaning criminals trying to get a better deal for themselves by ratting on someone else.

    Did they ever bother to check, say, property records to figure out who owned the place, and if they had any known connection to their suspect? Notice that nowhere in the article do they state that the suspect was related to the homeowners.
  13. ChiefThunderstick

    ChiefThunderstick Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    The relatively free state of Virginia
    Seems that we are not all created equal. If someone is murdered, lots of times the punishment is slight. When an LEO is killed, well you know... Society is wrong in believing that any individual no matter what occupation has any more worth than another. I don't think Bono or Oprah are special or have any intellect worthy of the attention they get. I hope they rebuild grandpa's house even better than it was before and that mistakes of this nature are not repeated.
  14. Dienekes

    Dienekes Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Been retired about thirteen years now--but eventually I got tired of the "war on drugs" nonsense and told my supervisor that if he wanted me out on raids he had only to order me to and I would go--but I was all done "volunteering". His response was that if I didn't want to go they didn't want me along.

    Took care of that problem.

    Personally I think anyone who does drugs is a moron and a loser; but that's a cultural problem, not a military one. And the government isn't the solution to that...
  15. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    northern nevada
    Just one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of episodes that takes place in Americea each year. And each one of these military styled raids is a slap in the face of freedom. America is no longer a free country. When uncivil servants can act this way with impunity no one can say with a straight face that we are a free country. Since it's obvious that the law enforcement community in America has no respect for the constitution, freedom or the rights of Americans I think it's time to start looking at a national referendum to seek a way to ban this type of activity. These military wanna be raids have little to no value in the war on crime but are dangerous in the extreme to citizens. Even if we have to take it to a Constitutional Amendment level we need to make this behavior stop. Oops, I forgot, we have an amendment allowing me to own any kind of gun I want yet the Feds and the police violate it on a daily basis. I guess laws to stop these raids would be ignored just as effectively.

    Masterblaster has it right when he points out the fact that these teams are used more and more often due to the beaurocratic mindset of the bean counters. As is so often the case in politics, money is handed out based upon how much money you spent on something the year before. If you spent all your $ you get more this year. If you did not spend all your $ you must not need it and your budget is cut. This only serves as an incentive to use these teams at every opportunity to justify asking for more and more taxpayer money so that they can keep these cancerous raid teams active and growing. And guess who gets to pay for this mentality.....the average citizen pays. First with higher taxes and now, more frequently than ever with blood.
  16. denfoote

    denfoote Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Near the border of occupied Azlan and Mexico.
    It looks like the JBT of the NWO are here in our fair valley!! :mad:
  17. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    In the land of make believe.
    So they burned down the mans house on accident? Then they cant find any evidence? They saw a car near the house that may have been stolen only to find that the houses owners have the same make of car? Then they claim to have used loud speakers to inform the man they are going to kick his door in and throw flashbangs which set the house on fire. After the man defended his house the heroic officers tackled the disabled senior citizen as he fled into his backyard to the fact they lit his house on fire. And now they are going to investigate it?

    Perhaps they should really take an objective look at things and hire an objective investigative team that will treat this completely impartially.
  18. No_Brakes23

    No_Brakes23 Member

    Mar 19, 2005
    Everett, WA Recently escaped from San Diego, PRK
    That's a damn shame. Another "isolated incident", no doubt. I am surprised this thread hasn't been locked yet.
  19. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    Well I am glad that even after grenading the house burning and smoking everyone out that nobody was killed while deaf with ringing ears and confused after they got the wrong house. That is something to be proud of, they actualy let the person live that they mistakenly raided who tried todefend themselves. If he had died I am sure he would have had to be villified much more severely to make up for the accident. In fact it would have probably been him that started the fire in that case, just like Waco, trapped people in standoffs always try to burn themselves to death, what is wrong with them!?
  20. razorburn

    razorburn member

    May 16, 2006
    At least everyone's alive and well. Homes can be rebuilt. Though it's certainly going to be a sorry Christmas for that family. It is rather remarkable that they didn't kill the grandfather when he shot at them, they showed some restraint there. But it would've been better if they'd shown restraint much earlier in the process, before deciding to send out a swat team. I think an earlier poster had it right, with them seeking out excuses to use the team more frequently in order to justify budget expenses. I hope the family makes those counters feel it when they file a suit to reclaim the full value of their home and possessions that were destroyed, and then some for the suffering they endured.
  21. cassandrasdaddy

    cassandrasdaddy Member

    Jul 1, 2006
    was i

    the only one found a guy with altheimers and a gun to be not the greatest situation
  22. crashresidue

    crashresidue Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    Maui HI
    OK, it's late Friday night - and I've had a few cocktails. Be warned!

    The problem here isn't the LEO's kicking in the door - it's the departmental leaders that are at fault!

    I understand the guys doing the "kick-in"- they are just following orders, one's that they beileve are "justified".

    The "problem" is with the department! I know a bunch of cops, and all of them are pretty good guys - now their Chiefs and assistant Chiefs are the problem. Very few are "mustangers" - they didn't work their way up the chain of command, they got appointed "politically". See the problem here?

    The only cop I'll diss is that one from CA that tackeled the old woman in NO. He should be drug out by his b#lls and shot. If you're too stupid to understnd the Bill of Rights, then you have NO business as a Law Officer!

    Yes, this was a bad situation - but it wasn't the "kickers" fault - it came down from FAR above.

    That's the problem.

    Gentle winds,
  23. Molon Labe

    Molon Labe Member

    Jun 17, 2003
    SW Ohio
    Criminals with badges.

    Too bad Salvador didn't have better aim.
  24. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

    May 5, 2005
    Garrettsville, Oh.
    Nothing to see here, folks.

    Move along, nothing to see.

    I wonder about the alzheimers thing myself. It may be quite possible that this gentleman had far more real world experience than the po-po (WW II?) and his sixty year old instincts didn't ALLOW the cops to shoot him. Maybe Mr. Salvadore made better use of cover than the average grandmother.

    And maybe I'm nitpicking, but where is the acountability? I've never been a cop, but I have done some work for Uncle Sam, jobs that got me out from behind my desk. Nothing was done without full briefing, everybody's questions answered. Where are the half-way intelligent people on these raids who ask a question or two before shooting up the elderly?

    Oh yeah, IBTL.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
  25. Spot77

    Spot77 Member

    Apr 1, 2003

    I agree. It would also seem that the use of flashbangs has no place in law enforcement issues of relatively minor significance. Stolen property? Jeez. Multiple murderer or serial rapist might justify it........

    I agree it's not entirely the officers' fault. It's OUR fault for allowing operations like this to become standard operating procedure. It's the legislatures' faults, the courts' faults, and Americans' faults. We tolerate it.

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