Minnesota: Minn. man shoots cops after SWAT team kicks down wrong door

Minneapolis, Minnesota

From USA Today of December 17, 2007

Minn. man shoots cops after SWAT team kicks down wrong door

A Minneapolis police SWAT team kicked in the wrong door yesterday during an early morning raid, prompting the man of the house to grab his gun and open fire on the officers who entered the house.

“He took out his shotgun and he said if they are bad guys I’ll shoot, I’ll scare them away,” Dao Khang, the brother of the homeowner, Vang Khang, tells the Star Tribune. “He fired first, he told me it was two shots.”

Dao Khang says his brother was trying to protect his wife and six children. No one from the family was hit during the exchange of gunfire. Vang hit two officers, but the Pioneer Press says they were protected by ballistic vests and helmets.

“I must’ve heard over 20 or 30 shots, I swear, it was scary,” Ruth Hayes, the family’s next-door neighbor, tells WCCO-TV. “It was like 30 SWAT guys out here … it was crazy it was just like havoc.”

KARE-TV reports that Vang was detained at the scene and released a few hours later. Police say there may have been a “language barrier” between the residents and the officers.

“It was some bad information that was received on the front end that kind-of trickled all the way through,” police Sgt. Jesse Garcia tells the station. “It’s unfortunate because we have officers that were hit by gunfire and this truly, truly could have been a much worse situation.”

Police haven’t decided whether they’ll try to charge Khang with a crime. KMSP-TV says the Khang family is consulting with a civil attorney.

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of December 18, 2007

Police chief apologizes to family

The family involved in a botched high-risk police search of their north Minneapolis home early Sunday said today that Police Chief Tim Dolan has personally apologized to them.

Dolan met with members of the Khang family earlier today, said Sia Lo, the family’s attorney during a news conference held in the upstairs master bedroom that was riddled by at least two-dozen bullet holes. Family members said the shots came from police.

Lo said that Dolan told the family the wrong house was raided and that there was “a breakdown in communication,” that led a SWAT team to descend on the home in the 1300 block of Logan Avenue N.

On Monday, Dolan met with members of the Hmong community and family elders. His meeting today with homeowner Vang Khang, his wife, Vee Moua, and extended family was considered a positive step in the healing process, Lo said.

Police apologized, admitting that they had erred based on bad information from an informant, the alleged victim of a violent crime at the house, believed to be one of the last pieces in a long-term investigation focused on violent gang members.

Police said they had no reason to believe the information was inaccurate. They had the right address on the warrant, but the house wasn’t occupied by anybody they wanted.

Moua said while watching television she heard noises that ended up being a SWAT team entering the rear of the house about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. She raced upstairs to wake up her husband.

Khang, thinking the intruders were burglars, fired at police through a bedroom wall he said in fear that they would harm his sons in another bedroom. The shots hit two officers, one in the back and one in the head, but both were uninjured because they were wearing protective armor. Police shot back, but did not hit him.

Khang said he realized the intruders were the police only after his 12-year-old son told him so in Hmong.

“Things could’ve been very tragic,” Khang said Tuesday. “Maybe there were spirits watching over us.”

Lo said the family will be staying with relatives indefinitely. “I think it will be very difficult for the children right now to come back at this time,” Lo said.

Further links:
SWAT Team Barges Into Wrong Home; Scared Home Owner Shoots Cops

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