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Maryland officers issue warrant at wrong address, get shot by man who believed they were intruders

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DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. – Two Maryland police officers were shot Wednesday night after issuing a drug search warrant at the wrong address where a man thought they were home invaders, according to officials.

Police said it was about 10:30 p.m. when nine Prince George's County officers knocked on the door of an apartment where they believed a man was selling drugs. The officers heard no response from inside the home, and began using a device to pry open the door.

Investigators said a man inside the apartment fired a shotgun at officers as soon as they were able to open the door. One officer fired back, but did not strike anybody. Two officers were injured by the shotgun blast, one in the shoulder and one in the hand, according to police.

The man surrendered after realizing police were on the other side of his door, according to investigators. He reportedly yelled, "You've got the wrong address! Don't shoot my daughter!"

Investigators said the resident and his daughter had fallen asleep in front of the television and did not hear the officers announce themselves. The father awoke to a commotion and believed home invaders were trying to break in. He instructed his daughter to run and hide before the confrontation.

"That individual acted to protect himself and to protect his daughter from what he believed to be the threat of home invasion," said Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski. "I am confident that he did not intentionally fire that weapon at police officers because they were police officers."

Police confirmed that the man was innocent.

Stawinski apologized for the error in a news conference Thursday.

Chief Stawinski provides update on incident on Lorring Drive.

Posted by Prince George's County Police Department on Thursday, September 20, 2018

Authorities said the resident would not be criminally charged in the shooting.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the injured officers were flown to a trauma center after the shooting. One has been released, and the other remains hospitalized to undergo surgery on his arm. 

Stawinski said the officers were led to the address by a confidential informant. They believed it was the home of a man selling drugs.

Stawinski has ordered a freeze on executing search warrants until they are thoroughly reviewed. "I want to assure that we will make certain that this does not repeat itself," the chief said.


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