ATLANTA, May 30 (UPI) -- A 19-month-old in Georgia is in a medically-induced coma after a stun grenade detonated in his playpen while police raided the house his family was visiting. Local law enforcement officials are defending their actions, saying it was tragic, but unintended.
"The last thing you want is law enforcement to injure someone innocent," Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "There was no malicious act performed. It was a terrible accident that was never supposed to happen."
The raid occurred earlier this week after a confidential informant said he bought methamphetamine from 30-year-old Wanis Thometheva at the residence. When police arrived to arrest Thometheva and raid his home, they entered through the room Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh and his family were sleeping in, tossing in a stun grenade before storming the residence.
The officers told their superiors and local law enforcement that there were no signs of children present, a claim the child's mother strongly disputes.
"They say there were no toys," Alecia Phonesavanh told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "There is plenty of stuff. Their shoes were laying all over."
Thometheva, the intended target of the raid, was not even home and had to be arrested elsewhere. The Phonesavanhs were staying with his family after their house in Wisconsin burned down, leaving them homeless.
"Our kids have been through enough this year," Phonesavanh said.
"This is just more trauma that they didn't need, and I just wish there was something better I could do to make it better for him. Wrong place, wrong time. There's nothing I can do about it."
Thometheva is facing felony drug charges. Bounkham is paralyzed, but has improved from the fifty-fifty chance of surviving doctors initially gave him.