Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, who said that Tuesday’s pre-dawn raid on the house was part of “an ongoing narcotics investigation” told the Missoulian that typically the grenades are not so close to people, let alone minors, when they go off.
“It was totally unforeseen, totally unplanned and extremely regrettable,” he said. “We certainly did not want a juvenile, or anyone else for that matter, to get injured.”
According to the Missoulian, the officer charged with deploying the grenade didn’t understand that there would be a delay before the device went off. Thinking it was a dud, he dropped it on the floor next to the sleeping girl while he went to get a second device. Seconds later, it exploded, terrifying both girls and sending one to the hospital burn unit.
The family protests that they were not only not harboring a drug operation, but were attempting to cooperate with the police.
“A simple knock on the door and I would’ve let them in,” said Fasching, who was home with her husband and two daughters at the time of the raid. ”They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would’ve checked, they would’ve known there’s not.”
Fasching said that her husband, who is disabled, was in the process of opening the front door for the officers when they knocked it down.
St. John insists that the department had done adequate research on the house and its inhabitants, but said, “The information that we had did not have any juveniles in the house and did not have any juveniles in the room. We generally do not introduce these disorienting devices when they’re present.”
“The warrant was based on some hard evidence and everything we knew at the time,” he said.