A SWAT team conducting a search warrant for drugs this week at an Atlanta area home mistakenly threw a “stun grenade” into the crib of a 19-moth-old toddler, gravely injuring the boy, according to his family.
The child is currently in a medically-induced coma because of the incident, said his mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, who told WSB-TV that the grenade landed in the crib and “exploded on his pillow right in his face.”
"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."
In an ideal situation, stun grenades are non-lethal weapons used to produce a loud bang with a bright flash of blinding light to subdue perpetrators of alleged crimes.
Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby expressed remorse but also offered some reasons for the SWAT team’s actions, which were reportedly brought on from previous drug activity at that same location.
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.
The boy is currently in Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit.
Phonesavanh said she brought her young son to her sister-in-law’s home for a visit.
The operation ultimately resulted in the arrest of a 30-year-old male drug suspect who was in the home at the time.