Child injured by flash grenade returns home
Family was staying in Georgia after fire destroyed home in Janesville
JANESVILLE, Wis. — They were asleep in the home they had been staying at in a community north of Atlanta when police executed a no-knock warrant and burst into the house at 3 a.m. on May 28.
The Phonesavanh family was there because a fire had destroyed their home in Janesville. The moment the SWAT team entered the home in Georgia, the life of their 19-month-old son was changed.
“The SWAT team busted in and threw a flash grenade at my son’s playpen,” said Alecia Phonesavanh, mother of Bounkham, or as he is known to his family, Baby Bou Bou.
The flash grenade exploded in the child’s face and chest, causing major injuries. The child spent more than a month in three different hospitals. There were times when his family feared he might not survive.
“Pretty much the whole first month, until he started waking up,” Phonesavanh said.
Baby Bou Bou was eventually released from a Georgia hospital on July 1 and his family is now back in Wisconsin.
“There is still a long road to go, so I think coming back home is going to help in the healing process for the family,” said Marcus Coleman, a spokesman for the family.
The injuries to Baby Bou Bou were made even more difficult to accept given the fact that the suspect police were searching for did not live at the home. The Phonesavanh family had nothing to do with the investigation and the suspect was arrested later at his home.
“The gentleman they were looking for did not reside at the home. Any type of good policing, had they done their due diligence as far as investigating, would have prevented the injuries to this child,” Coleman said.
Baby Bou Bou has already had one surgery and is going to have more. Those future surgeries will be in Madison at American Family Children’s Hospital.
While the family is grateful to be back in Wisconsin, they are hoping for support from the community as they try to rebuild their lives.
For Baby Bou Bou’s mother, when she looks at the scars left by the explosion, she is hit by a range of emotions.
“I’m worried. I’m scared for his future. I’m thankful I have him,” Phonesavanh said.