Nineteen-month-old Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh is in critical condition after being severely burned by a stun grenade thrown into his crib by a SWAT team.
An overnight home raid occurred because police were looking for Wanis Thometheva, who possessed weapons and sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer earlier in the week, WSB-TV Atlanta reported. At the time of the raid, Thometheva was not in the house, but the Phonesavanh family was. The Phonesavanhs were staying at the house because of a fire at their Wisconsin home.
The distraction grenade was thrown through the door and landed in the crib, exploding through it and severely burning the toddler’s face. The door the grenade was thrown through was a former garage door but has since been remodeled into a bedroom. “It blew open his face and his chest,” the child’s mother told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Everybody was asleep. It’s not like anyone was trying to fight.”
Bou Bou’s parents and three older sisters — ages 3,5, and 7 — were sleeping during the 3 a.m. raid and were left uninjured. Thometheva was later arrested at another home in Georgia on felony drug charges. It is unclear of the relationship between the suspect and Phonesavanh family. “There was no clothes, no toys, nothing to indicate that there was children present in the home. If there had been then we’d have done something different,” Cornelia Police Chief Ricky Darby told WSB-TV.
The toddler is at Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit in Atlanta, Ga., in a medically induced coma. The Phonesavanh family told a WSB-TV reporter they have no insurance but have set up a fund to pay for medical expenses. The GoFundMe page raised over $5,000 in one day and has a $20,000 goal. To help baby Bou Bou, visit his fundraising page here.