Toddler severely burned by grenade during drug raid
A family says a SWAT team raided their home in the middle of the night and seriously injured a 19-month-old boy with a stun grenade.
Authorities in Atlanta were serving a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night after previously buying drugs from a resident who they say was known to have drugs and weapons.
Alecia Phonesavanh told WSBTV that police threw a stun grenade in her son’s crib, causing severe burns which landed the toddler in a medically induced coma at the hospital burn unit.
Phonesavanh said she was at her sister-in-law’s home in Habersham County early Wednesday when police raided the house.
“It landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face,” Phonesavanh said.
“He’s in the burn unit. We go up to see him and his whole face is ripped open. He has a big cut on his chest,” Phonesavanh said. “He’s only 19 months old. He didn’t do anything.”
Cornelia police Chief Rick Darby confirmed that the raid took place at the home just before 3 a.m. He said a multijurisdictional drug unit issued a warrant and organized the SWAT operation.
“There was no clothes, no toys, nothing to indicate that there was children present in the home. If there had been then we’d have done something different,” Darby said.
Wanis Thometheva, 30, was arrested during the raid.
No word on what, if any, drugs were found.
Darby told Channel 2’s Wendy Corona that the entire unit is very broken up about the incident.
“You’re trying to minimize anything that could go wrong and in this case the greatest thing went wrong,” Darby said. “Is it going to make us be more careful in the next one? Yes ma’am, it is. It’s gonna make us double question.”
The Phonesavanh family told Young they have no insurance and have set up a fund to pay for medical expenses.
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