A Georgia 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.
Alecia Phonesavanh said her child is in a medically induced coma in the burn unit of Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
Phonesavanh said she was at her sister-in-law’s home in Habersham County, Georgia,
early Wednesday when police raided the house.
"It's my baby. He's only a baby. He didn't deserve any of this," Phonesavanh said.
Phonesavanh said the grenade landed in the child’s crib
; she showed a photo of a charred portable crib.
"It landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face," Phonesavanh said.
She also showed pictures of her child in the Grady burn unit. WSB-TV decided not to share most of the photos because of the graphic nature of the child’s injuries.
"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, Georgia, 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.
Deputies said they bought drugs from the house, and came back with a no-knock warrant to arrest a man known to have drugs and weapons.
“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.
"Everyone's sleeping. There's a loud bang and a bright light," Phonesavanh said. "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."
Authorities arrested Wanis Thometheva, 30, during the raid.
Darby said 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 said they have no insurance and have set up a fund to pay for medical expenses.