Baton Rouge taxpayers will foot the bill for repairs to a house that BRPD officers stormed in to Wednesday morning looking for a man wanted on attempted murder counts.
BRPD obtained the search warrant, issued by a judge in the 19th JDC, on Oct. 14, according to spokesperson Sgt. L'Jean McKneely Jr. It appears the suspect used to live there but doesn't anymore, and the current occupants of the home had no relationship or any association with the subject, McKneely said Thursday.
The department issued a statement about the incident after images of the damaged building were shared on social media.
McKneely said the city of Baton Rouge will cover the necessary repairs. He said Chief Murphy Paul has been in contact with the family currently living in the house on Erie Street near Plank Road. Several people were home when officers deployed a flash-bang device outside the building and then knocked down the door to gain entry around 6 a.m. Wednesday.
The damage includes the broken door and a window that shattered, likely from the flash-bang, McKneely said.
A local attorney representing the family residing at the residence sent Paul a formal complaint via email on Thursday, McKneely said. Paul has directed BRPD Internal Affairs Division to begin an administrative investigation into the complaint and conduct a supervisor’s review of the incident.
This will include an examination of the Search Warrant Risk Assessment and the use of “No Knock” clauses in search warrants, McKneely said.
Police were searching for wanted fugitive Jaylon Smullen, 20, who used to live in that rental house. He and Joshua Cobb, 36, are wanted on six counts of attempted first-degree murder for their alleged roles in a Sept. 29 shooting that left a woman and her young daughter injured.
The shooting occurred in the 5900 block of Heidel Avenue, which is off Prescott Road. "They were innocent bystanders that were caught in the crossfire between two different groups of individuals," McKneely said of the victims.
McKneely said detectives did research on the suspects, which led them to believe Smullen lived at the Erie Drive house. Officers also noticed a car there that matched the description of a vehicle involved in the shooting.
Both suspects are still at large, and police are searching for them.