Father Shot 2 Officers Who Mistakenly Served Warrant at His Home

The man told police, "Don't shoot my daughter"

A man protecting his daughter from what he thought was a home invasion shot two police officers who mistakenly entered his apartment in District Heights, Maryland, Prince George's County's police chief says.

The officers and their nine-member special operations team went to the complex in the 2700 block of Lorring Drive to serve a warrant about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A confidential informant told police a drug dealer lived there, but the resident was actually a father who didn't know officers were trying to get in his home, Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said during a news conference Thursday.

"A law-abiding, hard-working citizen and his daughter were home at the point where we began to execute that search warrant," Stawinski said.

Stawinski said the man acted to protect his daughter and himself from what he believed to be a home invasion. "Our officers had worked to corroborate the information from that confidential informant, however, we did not draw the right conclusion," he said.

The team knocked on the door of the top-level unit and announced they were there, but no one answered. Despite the silence, the team had a feeling someone might be inside the apartment, so they used a device to open the door, according to police.

Inside the apartment, they found the father armed with a shotgun. Police say the man fired a single shot when the door opened, striking two officers. 

"As that door now opens, he realizes that those are police officers. He immediately drops that weapon. He immediately goes to the window and starts communicating, 'You've got the wrong address. Don't shoot my daughter,'" Stawinski said.

Another officer returned fire, but no one was hit. 

The officers were flown to a shock trauma center in Baltimore.

One officer has been treated and released and another is still undergoing treatment for injuries to their arm and face, police said.

"We could be talking about a completely different situation based on what they encountered when they got into that apartment. We are very very relieved tonight that both of our officers are alive," police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said after the incident. 

Stawinski said no charges would be filed against the man who shot the officers. 

"The investigation corroborates his account that he did not know that there were police officers trying to enter his residence. I believe that and I know that to be true," Stawinski said.

The chief said the department will do a review of all search warrants that are pending and issued a moratorium on search warrants for at least 24 to 48 hours to make sure a similar incident doesn't happen again.

Stawinski also said detectives who worked the case might be disciplined.

"I am not satisfied that we had done enough to corroborate the information we had in the obtaining of that search warrant," he said.

CORRECTION (Sept. 21, 5:30 a.m.): An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the police chief's last name. It is Stawinski.

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