Pasco officer charged with domestic violence after confrontation at his Richland home

A Pasco police officer is in trouble with the law after he allegedly held his wife against her will during a two-hour drunken argument.

Lee Samuel “Sam” Guerrero is accused of kicking in a bathroom door and keeping his wife trapped in a room during the Aug. 13 struggle inside their Richland home.

He was arrested after his son called 911 to report that Guerrero was hitting walls and yelling at his mother, according to court documents.

Now he’s facing charges of unlawful imprisonment, third-degree malicious mischief and fourth-degree assault, one felony and two misdemeanors in Benton County Superior Court, according to court documents. The charges also include a domestic violence enhancement.

Guerrero and his wife have been married for more than 20 years and have four children together.

He has been released without bail. He was ordered to not contact his wife for the next two years and can’t come within 500 feet of her.

He will be back in court in December.

Guerrero remains on paid administrative leave and is also facing an internal police department investigation to determine if he violated any of the agency’s policies, Pasco Lt. Tom Groom told the Herald.

The department also notified the state Criminal Justice Training Commission about the charges. The agency provides certifications for officers.

The certification division is responsible for investigating any complaint and making sure officers adhere to Washington state law. The agency can suspend, revoke or require additional training for police officers. The commission typically reviews any instance of an officer being charged with a crime, and can revoke the officer’s certification if they’re convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors that involve domestic violence.

Guerrero has been an officer since 2018 after having a career in IT. He worked at both the Franklin PUD and city of Pasco before joining the department, according to a 2018 Facebook post.

He helped the police department establish its body camera program.

Drunken argument

The charges stem from an argument on Aug. 13 after Guerrero and his wife went to a bar with friends. He became drunk and started arguing with his wife, according to court documents.

The two left the bar with his wife driving. As they were heading home Guerrero got out of the car, and his wife drove home without him.

Guerrero’s son went and picked him up and drove him back home in south Richland.

As soon as he got home, they began arguing again and she attempted to get away by going into the bathroom and closing the door. Guerrero allegedly responded by kicking in the door, according to court documents.

When she tried to leave the room, he allegedly blocked her. When she was able to escape into another room and locked the door, he picked the lock to get inside.

“The defendant was aggressive toward and argumentative with (his wife,)“ according to court documents.

He blocked her from leaving the room, and at one point grabbed her arms. She told investigators she feared for her safety.

The incident continued for about two hours before Guerrero’s son called police.

When officers talked to Guerrero, he allegedly admitted to following his wife around the house when she refused to talk to him and forcing the bathroom door open. He also allegedly said he blocked her from leaving the rooms.

Guerrero is one of two Tri-City police officers to be charged in 2023 with a domestic violence crime.

Kennewick police Detective Joshua Riley is charged with two counts of second-degree assault after he pointed a handgun at his wife and son on Sept. 24. He has been in alcohol and mental health treatment since shortly after his arrest. He is expected back in court in November.