Skip to comments.SWAT raids wrong house in Goshen
Posted on 05/27/2009 5:18:35 PM PDT by Chet 99
Story Updated: May 22, 2009 at 10:37 PM EDT
GOSHEN It was a case of mistaken identity in Goshen, as SWAT officers knocked down the wrong door Thursday. Officers were searching for a suspect accused of impersonating a police officer. Instead, they found an elderly couple who had no idea what was happening.
The SWAT team meant to hit the house next door.
Instead, the brunt force of their battering ram wad focused on Harvey Borntrager's front door.
Dents still marked the inner door to the Borntrager's home Friday. The handle of what used to be a screen door is now missing; its glass is now shattered.
Harvey, 68 and his wife Lydia, 63, had just pulled into their driveway on County Road 40 when it all went down.
"I had just got backed in there, and here comes this black vehicle real quick like before I even know what was going on," Harvey explained. "We barely made it out of the truck when they were out of their truck and on the porch."
In a split second, they hit the door.
"The door was down before I even got to talk to anybody," Harvey said. "And I thought, what? What in the world is going on?"
Turns out, the answer wasn't quite what he expected.
"They said, they got a search warrant, and they asked me if I live here," Borntrager said. "I said, yeah, I live here. Then, he asked me what me address is, and I told him what it is."
"He kind of paused for a little bit," Borntrager continued. "Then, he asked me again. And, then he says, well, I think we're at the wrong house!"
They were. SWAT meant to hit the house next door, said Goshen Police Adjutant Joseph Brown in a news release Friday.
"The Goshen Police Department Emergency Response Team, while assisting the Elkhart Police Department in the execution of a search warrant on County Road 40 in Elkhart County, made a forced entry into a wrong residence," Brown wrote.
"The Elkhart Police Department had no involvement in the error, and the Goshen Police Department accepts full responsibility," Brown continued.
Goshen Police administrators are conducting an internal investigation to determine what circumstances led up to the mistaken entry, Brown said.
Brown wouldn't comment to WSBT on camera about the incident, saying only "We made a mistake. There's nothing left to say."
But there are plenty of leftover feelings for Harvey and his wife.
"I can't say I'm angry, you know? But I'm a little upset. [Lydia] was very shook up. If we would've been in the house when they broke in, she might've had a heart attack. She was shaking all night," Borntrager said.
The city has offered to make things right.
"They were very apologetic, and all that. And, I think rightfully so. We've hired Bail Construction to fix the door, and the city will be paying for it," Borntrager said.
"The important thing is, nobody got hurt. Anything that went wrong with the door can be fixed. But, I'm hoping it wouldn't ever happen to anybody else. It's not a fun thing to go through," he continued.
Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill says Robert Revoir, 39 was arrested after police eventually served the search warrant on the home next door.
Revoir's probably cause hearing was held Friday, and he now faces preliminary charges of impersonating a public servant and unlawful use of body armor. Both are class D felonies.
Witnesses told Elkhart Police that Revoir had identified himself a police officer while working as a repo man. He remained in the Elkhart County Jail Friday evening on $10,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear in court on May 29.
In the meantime, the Borntragers are just concentrating on moving on.
"Some people have said we should sue the city and all that, but I don't have any plans to do that," Borntrager said. "I just want to get my front door fixed."
Did they think to check the mailbox or the number on the door?
Just once I’d like to see these rogues enter an Islamic Temple that way.
Ok, this demands this response:
It seems they found someone impersonating police, themselves.
It’s generally nice to add what state/area the story is from.
To quote the Pinellas County (Florida) Sheriff’s department Internal Affairs desk, responding to my complaint about the SWAT operation on my office one summer evening in the mid 1980’s: “It never happened.”
The story is from a South Bend, IN tv station. Goshen is in Northern Indiana.
Tax dollars hard at work, expect more of this except for mistaken identity...
She needs to sue now.
BTW These botch raids can get innocent people and police officers hurt or killed, and hurt their image with the community.
Thank you. .
This type of crime warrants a dynamic entry? Lemme guess, he was probably wearing the body armor while working as a repo man (and telling folks he's a cop).
Couldn't they just knock on his door and arrest him? Does every crime call for a battering ram these days?
This kind of crap is happening WAY TOO OFTEN !
“He kind of paused for a little bit,” Borntrager continued. “Then, he asked me again. And, then he says, well, I think we’re at the wrong house!”
However, just for good measure, they clotheslined Mrs. Borntrager, shot Mr. Borntrager with a taser, and killed the family dog....
Why is it that so many police departments these days entertain the notion that arresting perps is a job for the domestic version of Navy SEALS?
I don't know why these "local news" websites don't make it more clear which state they are representing. Surely they must realize their articles get forwarded all over the world.
Was there a pit bull in the home?
I know someone would get shot if they busted down my door. First, my door isn't coming down with the first attempt. And second, I've got two 125 lb German Shephard who's primary mission is just to slow 'em down until I can properly arm myself.
I wonder if you get charged if you shoot a cop who's in your home illegaly.
To justify their bloated budget. If the city manager asks the police chief why they're spending umpteen million on SWAT gear and training for only 25 call outs last year, you can bet there will be 250 call outs next year.
For jobs Sheriff Andy used to handle.
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