A 2-year-old child was burned by a flash-distraction device when Lakeland Police Department SWAT team members executed a search warrant on a home known for continuous drug activity on Thursday.
According to police, members of the SWAT team executed a high-risk search warrant at 1103 West 9th Street.
Once at the home, SWAT officers knocked and verbally announced that they were executing a search warrant, as per protocol.
Officers entered the home and cleared the room, not seeing anyone inside.
The small room was cluttered with clothing and furniture items, including old mattresses leaning against a wall.
With no one in sight, a less lethal distraction device was deployed by an officer.
Officers used a noise-flash diversion product.
As the officer was backing out of the room, a 2-year-old child, who is believed to have been hiding in the mattresses, began walking toward the device as it was activated.
The officer immediately grabbed the child and took him outside to the SWAT team medic.
The child suffered third-degree burns and was taken to Lakeland Regional Health, then Tampa General Hospital.
The boy’s mother, Carmesha Jones, was not at the scene, but was located by detectives a short time later.
Jones lives at the home but had left her son in the care of Willie Cohen, 29, who was arrested at the scene.
During the deployment, an aggressive pit bull on the property lunged at a K9 officer who was securing the perimeter.
The officer’s handler fired at the dog, grazing one of its legs.
The Polk sheriff’s office Animal Control Unit was called to evaluate the animal, but there did not appear to be serious injuries to the dog.
Officers seized methamphetamines, Xanax, K2 (synthetic cannabis), crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a loaded handgun from the home.
Cohen is charged with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
Document, known gang member Newton Harris, 29, was also arrested for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected for other suspects not yet named.