Child injured by flash-bang while SWAT team invades drug house in Lakeland

Posted at 10:08 AM, Jun 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 10:11:13-04

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A child was injured by a flash-bang while SWAT team officers conducted a raid on a residence in Lakeland on Thursday. 

Members of the Lakeland Police Department SWAT team were executing a high-risk search warrant at 1103 West 9th Street after Narcotics detectives had secured the search warrant in response to continuous drug activity at the home. 

SWAT team officers knocked and verbally announced they were executing the search warrant and upon entry, they cleared the room and didn't see anyone inside the home. The small room they entered was cluttered with clothing and furniture, including old mattresses leaning up against a wall.

The officers threw a flash-bang and as the officers backed out of the room, a two-year-old child came out from behind the mattresses and began walking toward the flash-bang as it activated. An officer grabbed the child and took him outside to the SWAT team medic for treatment.

The child was transported to Lakeland Regional Health and then to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. 

The child's mother, Carmesha Jones, was not at the scene at the time of the incident. Detectives located Carmesha, who lives at the residence, but had left her son in the care of Willie Cohen. Willie Cohen was arrested at the scene. Carmesha is currently at Tampa General Hospital with her son. 

During the incident an aggressive dog on the property lunged at a K-9 officer who was securing the perimeter of the property. The officer fired at the dog, grazing one of its legs. The Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Unit was called to evaluate the animal. The dog was not seriously injured. 

While officers were in the home, they found Methamphetamines, Xanax, K2 (synthetic cannabis), Crack Cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a loaded handgun. 

Willie Cohen, 29, was arrested and charged with Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon. Newton Harris, 29, was arrested and charged with Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon and is also a documented, known gang member. 

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected for other suspects.