ATLANTA, GA (WKOW) -- A Wisconsin boy is in a medically-induced coma after he was badly burned by a "flash bang" grenade thrown into a home during a drug raid in Atlanta.
19-month-old Bounkham Phonesavanh and his family were sleeping when authorities raided the home in the middle of the night Wednesday. A friend tells 27 News the family is from Janesville, but went to stay with other family members in Atlanta after their house burned down recently. The family has been staying there about two months.
Police say the flash bang ended up landing in the child's crib. The boy's mother says it exploded in his face.
“Two of my other girls were next to my husband," Alecia Phonesavanh told ABC News. "There was a member of the SWAT team pinning him down, another man had my son who was screaming and crying."
Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell says the response team did the best they could with the information they had. An informant had told authorities a methamphetamine dealer was at the house. He says there was no sign children were at the home.
Terrell told ABC News, “It felt like somebody just hit me in the gut with a sledgehammer when I heard. I got the call at about 2:25 a.m. and I just didn’t sleep no more the rest of the night.”
Terrell says if he knew any children were in the home they would not have gone through with the raid in that manner. The sheriff's office will begin approaching each situation differently in the future.
A family member, Wanis Thonetheva, 30, was arrested later that day and charged with distributing meth.
The toddler is still in the burn unit at a Georgia hospital. The parents say they don't have insurance so a family friend in Janesville has set up an online fundraiser. Click here to visit the page.
Terell tells ABC News the sheriff's office has asked to pay for the child's medical bills.