children

Baby is in a coma after police accidentally drop grenade in his crib

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Reported by Liku Zelleke

A 19-month-old baby has been put in an induced coma after he was hurt when police dropped a flash-bang grenade in his crib. The incident occurred while the authorities were raiding the house the baby was sleeping in, which was suspected to be a drug distribution point.

The raid on the Phonesavanh family home was carried out at dawn on Wednesday in Habersham County, Ga., after an informant had made a purchase the previous day. At the time, authorities said, there were no indications that there was a toddler on the premises as the informant had done the transaction while still outside.

The Special Response Team (SRT) arrived with a “no-knock” warrant to arrest the suspected dealer. The door was breached with a ram and the inside was dark. They then threw in a flash-bang grenade.

“Unfortunately, there was a pack and play there,” Habersham County Sherriff Joey Terrell said.

The grenade landed in the crib and exploded in baby Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh’s face.

The boy’s mother, Alecia, said that the authorities told her “he’s okay, he’s just fine, there’s nothing wrong with him.”

“They lied to me,” she said. “They kept telling me my son was okay. When I saw his playpen I just about threw up. I got really sick, I was so scared. That picture is enough to traumatize anybody knowing that there was a baby lying there … [The grenade] landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face.”

Bou Bou is currently recovering at the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit. He has been put in a medically induced coma.

“I look at him lying in the bed and I want to trade places with him. I don’t want him to go through this,” Alecia said.

The Phonesavanh family doesn’t have any insurance and have set up a fund to pay for medical expenses. Meanwhile, Terrell says that the sheriff’s department has already arranged with the hospital’s social workers to ask that all the hospital bills be forwarded to the county.

Terrell said that his men had done everything they could given the information that they had and said, “Pray for the children, pray for the baby, pray for the family. It makes you do some soul searching … It’s hard, it’s difficult.”