CLEVELAND, Tenn. — “There’s kids toys all over the place. They probably had to step over kids toys and they still threw three different flash bangs.”
The DEA issued an apology after bursting into a Cleveland, Tennessee family’s home with the Bradley County SWAT team. They were reportedly searching for a wanted murder suspect who lived nearby.
The father described what it was like waking up to the chaos.
“I think someone is breaking into my house, I go get my gun. Trying to protect my family like any Dad would do.”
In fear for his family, the father of four drew his gun. But instead of a burglar, he came face to face with police.
“As soon as they open the door I turned around, seen all those guns…I just turned around, because, like everybody was saying, if I was five steps or three steps up there they would’ve pulled the trigger. I had a gun and they think I’m a murder suspect.”
A murder suspect wanted in connection to a murder in Johnson City. The DEA said this was part of a larger investigation and they are apologizing to the family.
“Situations such as these are tragic and we take this very seriously. We intend to look into this matter further and to take steps to make sure that situations such as this never occur again,” a spokesperson for the DEA said.
The family was left with a smoke-filled house and damage to their door. Their son was even temporarily blinded and deaf from the flash bang. His parents said he’s now traumatized.
“I have to come upstairs with him so he’ll feel safe in his own house…. to go to sleep because somebody didn’t do their jobs correctly.”
As for how the mix up happened, police told the family it was all because the homes looked similar.
“The houses look similar and we were told it had a white car. I have a Yukon and a Camry. And they said you had a white car so we just got your house. It looked similar.”
That murder suspect was arrested shortly after officers realized they were in the wrong home.