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UPDATE: DEA apologizes to Bradley County family for raiding wrong house

Image: WTVC

UPDATE (Wednesday):

NewsChannel 9 has learned the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have apologized to the Renck family.

A spokesperson for the DEA sent the apology via email:

“On May 22, 2018, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Louisville Division Office and the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office served a federal search warrant at an address associated with an individual wanted for murder, who was also a target in an ongoing heroin investigation. This operation was part of a larger ongoing investigation. Unfortunately, this search warrant was initially served on the wrong residence. DEA leadership immediately responded to the scene and met with the family. Fortunately, there were no injuries and DEA will continue to work with the family to ensure their wellbeing. Situations such as these are tragic and DEA takes them very seriously. We intend to look into this matter further and take steps to ensure situations such as this never occur again.”

As to who will pay for the damage, Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesman James Bradford tells Aaron Farrar that this case is in the preliminary stages, and wouldn't comment further.

NewsChannel 9 has also learned the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now investigating this mixup.

Spokesman Josh Devine says in an email, "At the request of 10th District Attorney General Stephen Crump, TBI Agents are investigating the actions of law enforcement officers from the Bradley County Sheriff's Office while executing a warrant earlier this week. Preliminary information indicates the deputies appear to have initially entered the wrong home."

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE (Tuesday evening):

After a 10-month long investigation into the murder of a young pregnant woman, SWAT team members went to Lynncrest Drive to look for one of four suspects.

But one family that lives on the same street said the wrong house was raided while their children slept inside.

Spencer Renck was getting ready for work. He heard a loud boom and then heard footsteps. A SWAT team was raiding his house.

"They had their guns drawn at me and I had my gun trying to protect my family," he said.

"I didn't know what was going on. I was really close to being killed."

The Bradley County Swat team busted through his front door, throwing flash bangs. The father of four says they knocked pictures off the walls, damaged the ceiling, burned holes through clothes and a carpet.

One flash bang went near his young son's bedroom.

"[My son] said he couldn't see or hear anything," Renck said. "There was a bunch of smoke. He couldn't breathe. He was freaking out. He's six years old."

Renck was home with his wife and four young children at the time.

"When they opened up the door, there were like four or five different guns just drawn at me," he said.

"So I just came around this corner."

Renck was tackled and handcuffed. Renck said once the SWAT team confirmed his identity, it realized there was a mix up.

"[The SWAT team member] said. 'Oh. We got the wrong house.," Renck said.

"They in-handcuffed me and they all just ran and went upstairs and went next door."

According to a release from police in Johnson City, Tennessee, the Bradley County SWAT team was one house off. The Rencks live at 4040 Lyncress Drive.

Next door, at 4030, Johnson City police say authorities found Monte Lamar Brewer Jr, a suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman from 2017.

We reached out to the Bradley County sheriff's office for an explanation and received this statement: "It assisted a federal agency to arrest a murder suspect from Washington County."

We did not get a response about the Renck's house being raided.

"After all that happened, they came and said sorry," Renck said. "But I don't know how that happens."

Renck told us that he took his son to the doctor to be checked out after the raid. He is doing fine.

UPDATE (Tuesday afternoon):

The Johnson City Police Department says officers have arrested four suspects in a homicide investigation, one of them in Cleveland.

Law enforcement arrested 27-year-old Monte Lamar Brewer Jr. at 4030 Lynncrest Drive N.E.. Spencer Renck, who lives next door with his wife and four kids, says SWAT mistakenly raided his home Tuesday morning.

Police also arrested 31-year-old Eugene Aireese Glover of Chattanooga. Both he and Brewer were charged with first degree murder and first degree murder (commission of a felony). Both Glover and Brewer are in jail on $500,000 bond, suspects in the 2017 murder of a Rebecca Thompson (aka Stacy McGee) in Washington County.

Two other suspects were arrested in the case in Johnson City, both of whom have previously been arrested by Chattanooga police:

  • 24-year-old Isiah Devon Milligan: first degree murder, first degree murder (commission of a felony), and two counts of first degree murder (solicitation of first degree murder)
  • 24-year-old Avios Alexander Griffin: first degree murder and first degree murder (commission of a felony)

Authorities have not yet released a statement on the incident at the Renck family's home Tuesday.

Read more about the incident below.


PREVIOUSLY:

A family says they were awakened to officers throwing stun grenades and busting down their doors Tuesday morning.

They tell NewsChannel 9 that officers later discovered they had the wrong house.

James Bradford of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office tells NewsChannel 9, "Earlier this morning, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office assisted a federal agency with executing a federal search warrant which led to the arrest of a male who was wanted for murder in Washington County, TN." Washington County is just south of Kingsport, in upper east Tennessee.

Authorities were apparently led to believe the murder suspect was staying on the 4000 block of Lynncrest Drive.

But the house next door was the one that was raided early Tuesday.

According to homeowner Spencer Renck, his family was awakened by a loud bang around 5:50 a.m. Renck says he then heard footsteps and grabbed his gun to protect his family.

He says the Bradley County SWAT team then busted through his front door with guns drawn.

Renck says flash bangs were thrown in the house and one went into his young son's bedroom. Renck was home with his wife and four young kids. He says his his door, basement, ceiling and other areas of his house were damaged during the 20-minute raid.

He tells NewsChannel 9 officers forced him on the ground and handcuffed him. Renck says when authorities confirmed his and his wife's identities, they said they had the wrong house.

Renck recounted the story on a public Facebook post (which contains profanity):

"I was proceeding to go up the stairs I had my gun drawn and they opened basement door with several swat team members pointing their mp5’s and AR’s at me so first thing i think is to run so I don’t get shot since I’m holding a gun. They flashbanged me down stairs then threw me to the ground and proceeded to hold me down with someone’s foot and aggressively cuff me and I told them I had a gun in my pocket loaded and he rolled me over and yanked it out and said “of course you do because you are wanted for murder you piece of s---” then I proceeded to tell them they got the wrong person and they kept telling me to shut the f--- up. Finally figured out I wasn’t the guy wanted for murder and literally just left my house without saying anything and proceeded to go to my neighbors. "

The post continues:

"Finally figured out I wasn’t the guy wanted for murder and literally just left my house without saying anything and proceeded to go to my neighbors. They destroyed my door, door frame, carpet on my stairs blew my ceiling out and burned my living room floor and hallway. All because someone got the wrong house. I am okay and could have easily been killed just thankful to be alive and my family okay. I still don’t understand how you get the wrong damn house."

Renck says a supervisor later returned and apologized for the mixup. But it left he and his family traumatized, including his young son.

Bradford would not comment further on whether authorities tracked down the Washington County murder suspect, saying he would not comment on an ongoing investigation.

This is a developing story. Depend on us to bring you updates as we learn them.

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