Police officer testifies on Day 1 of Tenorio trial - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Police officer testifies on Day 1 of Tenorio trial

Posted: Updated:

Trial for the island’s former second in command got underway in the Superior Court of Guam today. Former Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio is being tried on misdemeanor charges for the summer 2018 gun grabbing incident at the Tumon BBQ block party.

Inside the courtroom, Tenorio sat by his lawyer, Tom Fisher. Six jurors including two alternates were selected midday Friday with Judge Benjamin Sison giving jury instructions.

"This is a criminal case brought against Ray Tenorio…he had plead not guilty and the charge is not evidence of guilt," Sison said.

The former LT is accused of repeatedly unhosltering a Guam Police Department officer’s weapon last summer.

Chief prosecutor Basil O’Mallen led opening statements.

“You will hear testimony from Sgt. Cruz how his back is to where the Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio is at when suddenly he feels someone come up behind him and grabs his firearm that’s in the holster," he told the jury. "Now, police officers carry what’s called hot weapons or loaded weapons. Sgt. Cruz will explain the gun is fully loaded. There’s bullets in the gun and then there is a round in the chamber, and officer’s do not put guns on their safety. So when a gun with withdrawn from the holster, it is ready to be fired. Sgt. Cruz feels someone come up behind him and he takes defensive actions to stop the individual and hits individual in the chest and spins around and discovers to his surprise it’s the Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio. And he puts his hands up and says sorry I didn’t know it was you, Lt. Governor. But that doesn’t stop the Lt. Governor who reaches over and grabs that pistol and pulls it out of the holster. During course of trial, you will hear from Sgt. Cruz and other police officers at the scene that the defendant continues to grab his weapon trying to get it out of the holster until Sgt. Cruz physically shoves Lt. Governor away from him.”

While the prosecution is asking the jury to find Tenorio guilty, Tenorio's lawyer came to his defense.

“So Ray was in Sgt. Cruz’s chain of command in addition to being a lifelong instructor to show police officers how to act, he actually was their superior," Fisher said. "He wasn’t there to steal the gun, he wasn’t on some lark shooting it up. He was trying to teach the officer to be careful about how to handle the gun and to be careful when you secure it on your person for our safety and the police officer’s safety.”

Fisher contends Tenorio did nothing wrong.

"The LT saw this holster with a gun improperly seated," he said. "And why is that a problem? Because somebody could come up and grab the gun and shoot people. The LT though - it might have been right or wrong - but he came up and pulled it out and held it at eye level."

The officer involved in the gun grabbing incident –  Sgt. Carl Cruz - is the government’s first witness to take the stand. Cruz says he was monitoring a disturbance when the unexpected occurred.

"As I was observing, I felt somebody touch my firearm," Cruz testified. "I quickly grab the lower portion of holster and locked it in its place. I took immediate action and spun around and struck whoever was behind me in the chest. I looked over and identified it was the Lt. Governor."

Cruz testified at that point he apologized.

"As I was doing that, I felt more pressure on my holster and press release retention button and pulled out my weapon," he continued. "He removed it."

The prosecution used Sgt. Cruz to recreate the gun grabbing incident for the jury in the courtroom. Cruz testified as Tenorio was holding it up the former LT stated, “too easy, too easy,” and “let’s do it again.”

Tenorio previously called it a “teaching” moment.

At that point, Cruz was forced to push Tenorio away out of fear. 

“He has no business touching my firearm especially if it’s loaded," he testified. "Anything can happen.”

Another officer then caught Tenorio as he told Cruz, “It’s like that, it’s like that?” Cruz responded, “Yes, sir. It’s like that.”

The jury was also given a look of the surveillance video captured that night.

Jury trial for the former Lt. Governor continues next week.

  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Andersen breaks ground for new medical training facility

    Andersen breaks ground for new medical training facility

    Construction is underway for a medical training facility at Andersen Air Force Base. The 495-square-meter building is the first for the 264th Aerospace Medicine Flight of the Air Force Reserve. It will be located near the existing medical and dental buildMore >>
    Construction is underway for a medical training facility at Andersen Air Force Base. The 495-square-meter building is the first for the 264th Aerospace Medicine Flight of the Air Force Reserve. It will be located near the existing medical and dental buildMore >>
  • Profiles of Hope: Carabaos for a Cure

    Profiles of Hope: Carabaos for a Cure

    Friday, May 24 is American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life. This is a community fundraising challenge raising funds for cancer research. Families, friends, and colleagues join forces and create teams to raise funds to honor loved ones who have lostMore >>
    Friday, May 24 is American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life. This is a community fundraising challenge raising funds for cancer research. Families, friends, and colleagues join forces and create teams to raise funds to honor loved ones who have lostMore >>
  • Witness allegedly saw Upi paraeducator assault child

    Witness allegedly saw Upi paraeducator assault child

    A Guam Department of Education paraeducator has been arrested for Child Abuse, Assault, and Official Misconduct. The police report was filed by school officials from Upi Elementary School on April 29th. Police spokesperson Paul Tapao says the alleged abusMore >>
    A Guam Department of Education paraeducator has been arrested for Child Abuse, Assault, and Official Misconduct. The police report was filed by school officials from Upi Elementary School on April 29th. Police spokesperson Paul Tapao says the alleged abusMore >>
Powered by Frankly