Guam – Unable to catch Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio all day yesterday, we were finally able to catch up with him at the typhoon-damaged Muna ranch today in Ysengsong, following his summons to answer to four criminal misdemeanor charges in Superior Court come October 3.
He wasn’t running from the marshals yesterday. Tenorio claims he was checking in with members of the community affected by Typhoon Mangkhut and helping them get back on their feet.
“I was visiting homes like this one,” said Tenorio as he was standing on the Muna ranch. “As you can see here, there are a lot of people in our community who have suffered as a result of Mangkhut and we’re just trying to help them out. I grew up in a home just like this. We had pallets and 2x4s and tin that we lived that our house and we had it pretty rough. But these are the people that I was visiting yesterday, not exactly this home but these are the types of homes we visited yesterday.”
Marshals were seen leaving Adelup yesterday after unsuccessfully trying to serve court documents to Tenorio at his office related to the infamous gun grabbing incident back in July. Court marshals eventually served the Lt. governor at the office of his legal counsel, Attorney Tom Fisher.
Court documents paint a more vivid picture than the grainy surveillance video leaked to the public purportedly showing Tenorio in a scuffle with another individual. Immediately after the incident went public, the Lt. governor defended his actions, claiming he grabbed Officer CJ Cruz’s service weapon from his holster because it appeared unsecured. So he saw it as a “teachable moment.”
But Cruz told police that Tenorio went for his gun six different times, allegedly telling Cruz, “It’s that easy!” Court papers indicate Cruz eventually shoved Tenorio hard enough to cause him to stumble. Cruz also said that Tenorio reeked of alcohol.
We asked the lt. governor whether he is sticking to his story in light of the Attorney General’s declaration.
“This is with the courts. The people of Guam know me, they grew up with me, they have seen me as a guy in school to a senator and also a police officer and now Lt. governor. The people know who I am and they know what I have done and I stand with what I have said before,” he told us.
Stating it’s not one against another, we again referred to the documents claiming the lt. governor went for the gun six times. He also responded to suggestions that he threw his officers under the bus by claiming his innocence and that the case was a politically-motivated attack on his campaign.
“I absolutely respect the officers and I have said this repeatedly I think and believe in my heart that I was operating in the interest of public safety. My interest has always been in my entire life to help people like you see here that are living in bad conditions but also to make sure that the police department and those honorable men that work and the prosecutors, investigators and the people working in the judiciary, they all have a role to play. And my role is to try to help this and people like this in our community. This is not about throwing anybody under the bus. This is not about us and them. This is just us and our community and what we need to help everybody in this community every single day,” he said.
Shortly before 10 a.m. today, Tenorio released a statement that he believes he would be found innocent of the misdemeanor charges stemming from a politically-motivated complaint filed by former Adelup aide Troy Torres.
We asked the Lt. governor, who’s also the Republic Party nominee for the gubernatorial election, if he believes the complaint would affect his political campaign.
“Well I think we all know that this stemmed from a politically-motivated complaint. It was filed and I believe that the people know who I am. They’ve known me since I was a kid, they knew me as a police officer, senator, lt. governor, they know how hard we work for them every single day. When people were trying to paint me yesterday where was I, well I was out here working for the people of Guam, making sure that these people here have a better future, be able to find affordable housing and plan so they don’t have to live like this for the rest of their lives. I wanna be able to help people.
“So my heart is for the people of Guam. That’s all I care about. That’s my only interest. So if people wanna label this however they want, they know who I am, they know what I’m about. I’m about helping people every single day in our community,” he said.
Tenorio also refused to ever step down from his role, saying “I’ve never quit on the people of Guam and I never will!”
Governor Eddie Calvo also released a statement today, saying, “Ray has always been a strong advocate for public safety. It’s why I chose him to run as my Lieutenant Governor and why I put him in charge of public safety. He’s done a remarkable job–there is a partnership between the federal and local law enforcement that I haven’t seen before and we have a Department of Corrections that is no longer under and injunction, I believe there will be a positive outcome to all of this and he can count on my friendship as he goes through this process. In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to recover from the storm and move our island forward.”