Critically burned toddler in coma after SWAT team drug raid on home

Bounkham Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old, was severely injured during a SWAT team raid in Georgia.

Bounkham Phonesavanh, a 19-month-old, was severely injured during a SWAT team raid in Georgia.

A toddler nicknamed "Bou Bou" by his mom and dad was put into a medically-induced coma after being badly burned by a police “flash bang” grenade, which landed in the crib where the boy was sleeping during a drug raid.

In Salon, his mom Alecia Phonesavanh recounts what she witnessed. Officers threw a flashbang grenade in her son's crib and left a hole in his chest.

"I have to face the reality that my son is fighting for his life," she writes. "It’s not clear whether he’ll live or die. All of this to find a small amount of drugs?"


Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.

There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.

My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any.

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.

"A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son" []

An Atlanta TV news account is here, graphic images of the child's injuries.