Dead Victims of the Drug War

As this violent and tragic Drug War rages on,
may each of these martyrs instead Rest in Peace.

John Adams
(1938 - 10/4/2000)
Lebanon, Tennessee
A 62-year-old African-American man was shot and killed by five white police officers after  they burst through the front door of his home at 10:00 p.m. on a Wednesday night.  It turned out their search warrant for drugs was erroneous:  It should have been written for the house next door.
Juan Mendoza Fernandez
(1940 - 9/28/2000)
Dallas, Texas
A 60-year-old man shot and killed by Irving police serving narcotics search and arrest warrants at his West Dallas home thought officers were burglars trying to force their way inside, members of his family said.  He and his wife had been married about 36 years and had four children and 13 grandchildren.
Alberto Sepulveda
(1989 - 9/13/2000)
Modesto, California
An 11 year old child is "accidentally" shot in the back and killed by a SWAT officer during a federal drug raid.  Father declares innocence(Photo montage courtesy of Don Beck.)  For historical background on SWAT actions, see op-ed by Sharon Dolovich.
Peter McWilliams
(1950 - 6/14/2000)
Laurel Canyon, California
This courageous medical cannabis user and renowned author was forced to stop using the only substance which eased some of his symptoms of AIDS, cancer and chemotherapy treatments.  Although medical use of cannabis is allowed by the laws of his state, his mother and brother had put up their homes as bonds while McWilliams awaited federal sentencing on cannabis cultivation charges, and those bonds would have been forfeited if he tested positive.  Without cannabis, he was unable to control his nausea, and ultimately he choked to death on his own vomit.
Patrick Dorismond
(1974 - 3/16/2000)
New York
An unarmed Haitian father of two children is shot by a seedy-looking undercover narcotics officer after angrily refusing to help the cop buy drugs.  (It was intended to be a "buy-bust" operation.)  Ironically, the victim worked as a uniformed security guard and had told his family that he hoped one day to become a police officer.
Ismael Mena
(1944 - 9/29/1999)
Denver, Colorado
This 45-year-old father of nine was killed in his bedroom by SWAT team members who stormed the wrong house.
Mario Paz
(1934 - 8/9/1999)
Compton, California
A 65-year-old Latino a father of six and grandfather of 14, Mario Paz, was asleep with his wife in their home at 11 p.m. one August night when 20 members of the local SWAT team shot the locks off the front and back doors and stormed inside.  Moments later, unarmed Mario Paz was dead, shot twice in the back, and his wife was outside, half-naked in handcuffs.  The SWAT team had a warrant to search a neighbor's house for drugs, but Mario Paz was not listed on it.  No drugs were found, and no member of the family was charged with any crime.
Pedro Oregon Navarro
(1975 - 7/12/1998)
Houston, Texas
In a hail of 33 bullets, a 23 year old father of two children is shot 12 times, including 9 times in his back, by six HPD officers in a no-knock home invasion without a warrant.  No drugs were found in the victim's apartment, and tests found no traces of alcohol or any other drugs in his body.  All six officers were later exonerated.

Esequiel Hernandez

(5/14/1979 - 5/20/1997)
Redford, Texas
While shepherding his family's goats, this 18 year old was stalked and killed by U.S. Marines on border patrol near Redford, TX.  View the extensive memorial photo gallery.
Ramon Gallardo
(d. 1997)
Dinuba, California
He was shot 15 times by a SWAT team with a warrant for his son.
Rev. Accelyne Williams
(1919 - 3/25/1994)
Boston, Massachusetts
This retired minister died of a heart attack 45 minutes after a 13-member Boston SWAT team executing a drug warrant burst into his apartment, toting rifles and wearing bulletproof vests and shields.  It turned out to be the wrong apartment.  The Boston police commissioner apologized the next day.  (3/27/1994 Houston Chronicle, page A-16)

Gary Shepherd
(1948 - 8/8/1993)
Broadhead, Kentucky
Gary Shepherd was a Viet Nam veteran who had a crippled left arm from the war.  Shepherd had deep conviction about medical cannabis, which he used to relieve his pain.  He sat in a lawn chair guarding his plants for the six or seven hours of a SWAT standoff, during which time no serious attempt was made to negotiate.  Finally, Shepherd and his long-term companion, Mary Jane Jones, were ordered to put their hands in the air.  As he raised his rifle to comply, police snipers hidden in a corn field shot Gary several times in the head and chest.  Shepherd's four-year-old son, Jake, was sprayed with his father's blood.
Donald Scott
Donald Scott
(1931 - 10/2/1992)
Malibu, California
Within view of his wife, a 61 year old rancher was gunned down by police officers during a home invasion near Malibu, CA.  As they invaded the property, the officers -- with two forfeiture specialists in tow -- had a property appraisal of Scott's $5 million ranch and instructions to seize the ranch if 14 marijuana plants were found.  The officers found no marijuana plants, other drugs or paraphernalia.  It turned out that Donald Scott was bitterly opposed to all drug use.

Shirley Dorsey
(1935 - 4/1/1991)
Rather than being compelled to testify against her 70-year-old boyfriend for cultivating the medicinal cannabis she depended upon to help control her crippling back pain, Shirley Dorsey committed suicide.  She saw it as the only way to prevent the forfeiture of their home and property.  Click here to read her tragic suicide note.

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Latest Revision 13-Apr-01