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Toddler burned, critically hurt by flash grenade during drug raid at US home

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Alecia Phonesavanh covers her face on Thursday, May 30, 2014 in Atlanta as she talks about an incident in which Phonesavanh's 19-month-old son was critically injured when a police device was tossed into his bed Wednesday morning in Habersham County by a SWAT team in search of a drug suspect. Phonesavanh said there is no way officers should not have known they were children in the house. Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said the officers were looking for a suspect who may have been armed and followed proper procedure by using the device. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Spink)

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Alecia Phonesavanh covers her face on Thursday, May 30, 2014 in Atlanta as she talks about an incident in which Phonesavanh's 19-month-old son was critically injured when a police device was tossed into his bed Wednesday morning in Habersham County by a SWAT team in search of a drug suspect. Phonesavanh said there is no way officers should not have known they were children in the house. Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell said the officers were looking for a suspect who may have been armed and followed proper procedure by using the device. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John Spink)

ATLANTA - A U.S. toddler was seriously hurt by a flash grenade when a SWAT team carried out a drug raid at their home, the boy's family said.

Alecia Phonesavanh told local media outlets that her 19-month-old son was sleeping in his playpen when the raid began Wednesday morning. She says the flash grenade, which makes a loud noise and bright flash to distract people during raids, landed in the boy's playpen and went off near his face.

Phonesavanh said the boy's face was severely burned, and he was in a medically induced coma in a hospital. She said her family had been visiting from out of town and were all sleeping when the raid happened around 3 a.m.

Officers did not know children were inside the home and would have done things differently if they had seen anything to indicate that kids were inside, Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby told WSB-TV. He said officers were distraught over what happened.

"You're trying to minimize anything that could go wrong and in this case the greatest thing went wrong," Darby told the station. "Is it going to make us be more careful in the next one? Yes ma'am, it is. It's gonna make us double question."

Authorities were serving a no-knock warrant on the house after an informant told investigators he bought drugs from the home, Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The suspect wasn't at the home and was later arrested at a different home on drug charges.

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