Police: Prince George's Co. officers executed warrant at apartment where suspect didn't reside

A search warrant executed by police Wednesday night at an apartment complex that resulted in two officers being shot was served at an apartment where the suspect did not reside, police officials said.

Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Thursday afternoon at a news conference that a man who fired a shotgun at a nine-person team of officers from the Special Operations Division after they gained entry into his apartment was acting in self-defense of himself and his daughter.

The man will not be charged, the police chief said.

"We were made aware of an individual in the community where this event occurred last night who we believed to be selling drugs to a wide berth of the community and doing an awful lot of that," said Stawinski. "We got that information initially from a confidential informant. As we began that investigation, it led us to identify the address where we served the search warrant."

However, the police chief said their investigation led them to the wrong address.

"Our officers had worked to corroborate the information from that confidential informant. However, we did not draw the right conclusion," Stawinski said.

As a result, Stawinski said he has issued a moratorium on search warrants served in Prince George's County that he expects to last for the next 24 to 48 hours.

"Until every search warrant that we currently hold has been thoroughly vetted to ensure that the failure to properly corroborate and draw conclusions from information has been addressed and that we have a high degree of confidence that this will not occur again," he said. "Further, we are going to be reviewing our methods of corroborating information from confidential informants and coming up with a new set of standardized practices, again, to ensure that this will not happen again."

Police said the search warrant was executed at around 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Lorring Park Apartments on Lorring Drive in Forestville. The officers were executing a search warrant related to a drug investigation.

According to officials, the officers knocked on the door of the man's apartment, but received no response. The officers then used a device to gain entry into the apartment. However, once the door opened, they encountered a man inside with a shotgun who fired at them.

Chief Stawinski described the man's account of what happened: "The door comes open. He is aware that people are entering his apartment. He has armed himself. He has told his daughter to go to the back of the apartment so that she would be safe. When the door opens, he fires a single shot. As that door now opens, he realizes 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.'"

One officer was wounded in the hand while another officer was struck in the shoulder area, officials said. Another member of the team returned fire, but did not hit the man. A tactical medic on the team then proceeded to administer medical assistance to the injured officers.

The rest of the officers entered the apartment where the man surrendered, according to police. His daughter was also taken into custody.

The injured officers were taken by ambulance to a nearby school. They were then placed in a Maryland State Police helicopter and flown to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with non-life-threatening injuries.

One of the officers has been treated and released from the hospital. The other wounded officer was undergoing surgery on his arm, police said.

Prince George's County police are still looking for the drug dealer that they were initially searching for.

This is not the first time Prince George's County police have executed a warrant at the wrong home. Back in July, FOX 5 reported that Prince George's County police admitted SWAT officers also served a warrant at the wrong apartment in Camp Springs.

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