The family at the center of a SWAT raid gone bad in Galveston has retained a lawyer and on Wednesday, they are expected to share what steps their legal team will make.
The raid happened at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 20, but the man who police were looking for didn’t live at the home.
The family told us this was a nightmare for them. They were woken up by a SWAT team that smashed through their windows and fired pellets during a raid that the city of Galveston is now investigating.
Police were searching for a man they say was wanted in a murder. It turns out the man was a family friend but did not live in the home, and now we know the person in question was misidentified and had not committed the crime.
The ordeal was captured on the family’s security camera. It shows Erika Rios, her teenage son, her daughter, and a friend being forced out of their house with their hands up. The teens, seen in the video, were clearly upset and had no idea what was happening.
“My kids and I were home sleeping and at about 2 a.m., we were awakened by wooden pellets in our doors and sounds of the Galveston Police Department saying to come out with our hands up. He said it twice and started firing these into our windows and doors,” Rios said.
Galveston Mayor Craig Brown told reporters that he only learned about the raid four days later after reading the newspaper.
Galveston’s police chief Doug Balli is now on administrative leave while the city looks into the botched raid.
Hours after the raid, the family learned that police were looking for Cameron Vargas, a family friend who was identified as a possible murder suspect. Vargas, a teenager living around the corner from Rios, later turned himself in.
However, there are multiple major issues with the entire situation.
Vargas did not live in the Rios house, nor was he there at the time of the raid. According to the Galveston Daily News, charges were later dropped against Vargas because a witness falsely identified him.
The family tells reporters there are thousands of dollars in damage to the home. The city referred the claim to its insurance company. Meanwhile, the family now has a lawyer, and we expect to hear more Wednesday about their plans.