A Maryland man won’t face charges after shooting two Prince George’s County officers who mistakenly entered his apartment to serve a warrant.
Police said the man jumped into action to protect himself and his daughter from what he believed to be a home invasion last Wednesday night. According to NBC Washington, the officers and their nine-member special ops team arrived at the complex about 10:30 p.m. to serve a warrant after an informant tipped them off about a drug dealer who reportedly lived there.
Inside the unit was actually a father and his daughter who were unaware that officers were trying to get into their home.
“A law–abiding, hard–working citizen and his daughter were home at the point where we began to execute that search warrant,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said at a press conference Thursday.
“The investigation corroborates his account that he did not know that there were police officers trying to enter his residence,” he added. “I believe that and I know that to be true.”
The violent incident unfolded after officers rapped on the door of the top–level unit and announced they were there. They got no answer, however. Believing someone was inside, officers then used a device to break open the door, police said.
Inside, they found a man armed with shotgun who opened fire when the door flung open. Two officers were hit.
“As that door now opens, he realizes that those are police officers,” Stawinski explained. “He immediately drops that weapon [and] he immediately goes to the window and starts communicating, ‘You’ve got the wrong address. Don’t shoot my daughter.'”
One of the officers returned fired, but no one was hit. Meanwhile, the two officers were flown to a trauma center in Baltimore with non-life threatening injuries. One cop was shot in the hand while the other was hit in the shoulder, FOX Baltimore reported.
“We could be talking about a completely different situation based on what they encountered when they got into that apartment,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said, seemingly referring to the case of Botham Jean, the Dallas man fatally shot by a cop who mistakenly entered his apartment thinking it was hers.
“We are very very relieved tonight that both of our officers are alive,” Donelan added.
According to the Stawinski, the department will now do a review of all pending search warrants and has since issued a moratorium on all search warrants for the next 24-48 hours. The detectives who worked the case could also face discipline, he said.
“I am not satisfied that we had done enough to corroborate the information we had in the obtaining of that search warrant,” the police chief said.
As for the wounded officers, one of them has already been released from the hospital while the other is still undergoing treatment for his injuries.
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