Botched SWAT Raid Officers Given Medals for 'Bravery Under Fire'
A SWAT team raided the wrong house, firing on an innocent family.
July 31, 2008— -- A Minneapolis family is outraged that members of the SWAT team that mistakenly raided their house and fired upon them last December have been awarded medals for their bravery under fire.
Vang Khang and his family had the fright of a lifetime when they believed their home was being invaded by burglars, or worse. It was actually a SWAT team, conducting a high-risk search warrant -- on the wrong house.
Acting on tips from a gang informant, police forced their way into the North Minneapolis home in the early morning of December 16 and traded fire with a terrified Khang, police said.
"The fact that the city of Minneapolis would give medals of valor and commendation to this SWAT team is shocking and outrageous," the family's attorney, Tom Heffelfinger, told ABCNews.com
Because the house is located in a part of town known for gang violence, Khang said he feared an intrusion when his home was forcefully entered. With his legally owned hunting shotgun, he fired at what he thought were unknown invaders from behind the second-floor bedroom door where he, his wife, and four of their six children huddled for safety, according to Heffelfinger.
When police responded by firing 22 rounds, bullets landed within inches of the family's heads, Heffelfinger said.
On Monday, Police chief Tim Dolan awarded all eight SWAT team members medals for "bravery in action under fire," police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia told ABCNews.com.
Based on information given from the unnamed former gang member, police had successfully raided three other houses earlier that evening, resulting in multiple arrests of gang members and the discovery of illegal drugs and weapons, Garcia said.
According to Garcia, the informant claimed to have lived in the final residence, Khang's home, with many high-level gang members.
"We had the right house and right address -- according to what the informant told us -- but it's unclear why she gave that address, since the family had no ties whatsoever to the gang," Garcia explained.