SWAT raids wrong house, DEA apologizes to Cleveland family

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating and has been since Wednesday when it happened.

The TBI was one of the first agencies to reach out to the family after the situation happened.

Attorney General Stephen Crump requested that TBI Agents are investigating the actions of law enforcement officers from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office while executing a warrant earlier this week.

Preliminary information indicates the deputies appear to have initially entered the wrong home.

Our investigation remains active and ongoing at this time.

Previous story: A family in Cleveland says that Bradley County SWAT kicked in their door looking for the murder suspect.

The family says flash bang grenades were thrown and smoke filled the home as SWAT pointed guns at the husband.
They say the department offered to pay for the door, but that’s not enough.
Police did have a “no knock” warrant, but it was for the home next door, according to the family.

“I have four kids. I have two twins that are six months old and they are baby swings in the living room, there’s kids toys all over the place they probably had to step over kids toys and they still through three different flash bangs, one hit my son’s room.”

The DEA is apologizing for bursting into the Renck family home with the Bradley County SWAT Team only finding out after the handcuffed the wrong person.

Renck says, “I thought someone is breaking into my house. I go get my gun. Trying to take my protect my family like any Dad would do.”

The father of 4 says, just before 6 am with his gun drawn he feared for his life when he saw police instead of the intruder that he was anticipating.

“As soon as they open the door I turned around, seen all those guns to pointed at me. I just turned around, because like everybody was saying if I was five steps or three steps up [the stairs], they would’ve pulled the trigger. I had gun and they think I’m a murder suspect” because “that’s what police are trained to do.”

A murder suspect wanted in connection with this woman from Johnson City, Tennessee.

 The murder suspect that they are arrested is charge with the death of a mother who had her child in the car at the time she was killed.
The DEA says this was apart of a longer investigation.
DEA spokesperson told us, “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.”

The family says they were left with a smoke filled house, damage to their door, but more importantly the family says their son was temporarily blinded and deaf from the flash bang grenade and his parents say he’s traumatized.

“I might have to come upstairs, to sleep with him, so he feels safe in his own house to go to sleep because somebody didn’t do their jobs correctly.”

Renck explained how SWAT explained the mix up.

“The houses look similar really ‘well it looks similar and we were told it had a white car.’ I had a Yukon and a Camry. And they said ‘you had white car so we just got your house It looked similar.'”

 The DEA’s full statement:
“On May 22, 2018, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency from the Louisville field division and the Bradley County Sheriff’s office [SWAT] served a federal search warrant associated with an individual who was wanted for murder and was also a target in an ongoing heroin investigation. This operation was an larger ongoing investigation. Unfortunately, the search warrant was initially served on the wrong residence. DEA leadership immediately responded to the scene and met with the family. Fortunately, there were no injuries and the DEA will continue to work with the family to ensure their well-being. 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.”

Renck believe, “You could have shot me and killed me and my kids would have to go without a dad and my wife and would have to deal with how she doesn’t have any money because I’m the sole provider.”

He says his son is “worried about how he’s going to sleep at night and he’s wondering if he’s going to have nightmares when he had guns drawn in his room, waking up to a big bang.”



Categories: Bradley County, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Local News, Regional News