A no-knock raid in the middle of the night started off with a SWAT officer throwing a stun grenade into a baby’s crib inside an Atlanta home, critically injuring the boy. Now the child is in intensive care with serious burns to his face.
Alecia Phonesavanh told Channel 2 News that she was staying with her sister-in-law Wednesday night when police conducted the raid because her home caught fire. She never thought something like this would happen.
“It’s my baby. He’s only a baby. He didn’t deserve any of this,” she said.
She said that the grenade landed in her 19-month-old’s crib then detonated in his face. Pictures show the side of the portable crib having been blown out from the force of the grenade.
“It landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face,” Phonesavanh said.
Cornelia police Chief Rick Darby was able to confirm that the raid happened at the home just before 3 a.m. and that a multijurisdictional drug unit issued the warrant and coordinated SWAT operations.
Deputies claimed to have bought drugs from the home, then went and had a no-knock warrant issued for a man believed to be in the home who allegedly had drugs and weapons.
Darby explained that there was nothing in the home to indicate children may be present. “If there had been then we’d have done something different.”
However that doesn’t help Phonesavanh, whose child is now in the Grady Burn Unit.
“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.”
According to Phonesavanh, everyone in the home was asleep when they heard a loud bang and saw a bright light. “The cops threw that grenade in the door without looking first, and it landed right in the playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face.”
The police arrested 30-year-old Wanis Thometheva as a result of the raid, which Darby said the unit is broken up about what happened.
The family of the injured child said they don’t have insurance and will need help paying for their medical bills. They have set up fund to accept contributions which you can access here.