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Toddler flash grenade: 19-month-old seriously burned during midnight drug raid

Toddler suffers burns from flash grenade in raid
Toddler suffers burns from flash grenade in raid
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A toddler was burned when a flash grenade was used by police to suddenly make their way into a Georgia home this week during a drug raid just after midnight. The break-in occurred early on Wednesday morning, but unfortunately the 19-month-old toddler was caught in the blast, suffering serious burns and other moderate injuries. News Max reports this Friday, May 30, that law enforcement officials have since said there was no way they could have known a baby was on the premises at the time of entry.

While executing a lawful search warrant, the toddler flash grenade scare came about in the home of 30-year-old Wanis Thomethera. Under the ability of a “no-knocking necessary warrant,” police authorities attempted to enter an area of the house. However, following use of the normally non-lethal weapon, a special response unit discovered that the door they tried to break through was in fact being blocked by a children’s playpen — with the child still inside.

This unexpected circumstance in the midnight drug raid made the toddler’s safety a first priority. Although the child is not said to be in critical condition, the 19-month-old is currently being medically treated at a local Atlanta hospital for serious burns suffered from the flash grenade.

"There was an obstruction, they inserted a flash bang, they had to push the door open," Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said, WXIA-TV reported. "When they entered the door, they noticed it was a playpen crib, or like a pack-and-play type device. There was a young child in the pack-and-play."

It was Fox News that shared following the rescue of the toddler, the local sheriff added in a statement this week that both 30-year-old Thomethera as well as three other people hiding in the house were arrested on the spot during the drug raid. He also noted in his report that it appears the group, as well as some other family members, had all moved into the home sometime this 2014.

Little information has been released at this point in time regarding how the police knew about the illicit drug activity leading to the raid, but it appears a secret informant was involved. Knowledge of a toddler in the home was not brought to light until after the flash grenade was used, however.

"The information we had from our confidential informant was there was no children in the home," Terrell said. "We always ask; that determines how we enter the house and the things we do. ... Did we go by our training, did we go by the intelligence? Given the same set of circumstances, with the same information dealing with a subject who has known gun charges on him, who is selling meth, they [the deputies and officers] would go through the same procedures. ... (We) had no way of knowing the child was in the house."

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