Faulty information lead police to raid wrong houseby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio,
Steve Karnowski, Associated Press
Minneapolis police officials say a raid carried out at the wrong house on the city's northside this weekend was the result of faulty information from an informant. Shots were exchanged between the homeowner and police. No one was seriously hurt.
Minneapolis — Early Sunday morning a SWAT team entered the home of Vang Khang looking for illegal guns. Police officials say they were acting on a tip from an informant. Sgt. Jesse Garcia says previous tips from the same informant resulted in the capture of illegal firearms.
"The informant gave a lot of information for numerous addresses. That was one of the addresses. And with that information, the investigators developed probable cause, drew up a search warrant, brought it to a judge he reviewed it, signed it and authorized a search warrant to be done on these numerous addresses," says Garcia.
Police officials say SWAT team members entered the first floor of the home and didn't find anyone there. They climbed the stairs to the second floor where they encountered Khang.
Khang, 34, and his wife, Yee Moua, 29, told reporters Monday night that they thought intruders had broken into their home.
Moua said she was watching television on the main floor when she heard voices and then windows breaking. She ran upstairs to tell her husband.
Khang said he grabbed the shotgun from a closet and fired three shots out his bedroom door. When his sons yelled at him that the intruders were actually police, he put down his gun and put his hands in the air.
"The whole family is badly shaken and still trying to understand what happened," Moua said.
She and Khang showed reporters six broken windows and 22 bullet holes. A bedroom door frame and wall were also peppered with holes from the shotgun blasts.
All six of the family's children, who are between the ages of 3 and 15, were home at the time.
Police accounts say the officers identified themselves. Sgt. Garcia says Khang fired three shotgun blasts at officers.
"He was firing through a door -- didn't know who was behind it. It could've been a relative coming home. I just don't recommend people firing through doors," says Garcia.
Two officers were struck by gunfire, but were wearing protective helmets and vests. They were not hurt. Police say several other officers returned fire.
City Council member Don Samuels represents the area of north Minneapolis where the shooting occurred. He says he wants the police department to be aggressive in its efforts to fight crime. But Samuels says police have to be careful not to hurt the people they're trying to protect.
"We are ultimately concerned about the safety of the community. That's why the raid was done. That's the paradox. We had a raid to protect the community, and in the process we put the community in harm's way," explains Samuels.
Police say they took Khang into custody and confiscated his shotgun. A police spokeswoman says separate criminal and internal investigations are continuing, and nobody was in custody Monday.
There's no word whether Khang will face charges. Seven Minneapolis police officers are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in a shooting situation, as investigators try to find out what went wrong with the raid. Sgt. Garcia says the city will help the family make repairs caused by the raid. The family has reportedly sought legal counsel.
An official with the city's Civilian Review Authority says since 2005, there have been two signed complaints against officers for mistaken searches. One case involved an officer who brandished a gun.
- All Things Considered, 12/17/2007, 5:18 p.m.