Deputies Storm Wrong House In Botched Raid; Cause Fire


Deputies ignored the pleas of the family, allowing their kitchen to catch afire

Some members of a Southern California family narrowly escaped with their lives after a house fire was caused by a botched raid by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. 

Deputies thought they’d found the bad guy when they surrounded a Spring Valley house and ordered everyone out at gunpoint. But the suspect they were looking for — a gunman who had robbed a medical marijuana delivery service — wasn’t there. Instead, they interrupted a family having dinner, and caused a kitchen fire when they wouldn’t allow the housewife to go back inside and turn off the stove.

The whole time the family was being held outside at gunpoint, they were pleading with the deputies to turn off their stove, telling them the food was going to catch the kitchen afire.

Willie Houston: “I think it could be handled better than what it was, especially when we [were]informing them there was no reason for our kitchen to catch on fire”

The ordeal had begun around 9 p.m., when San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a medical marijuana delivery person robbed at gunpoint. Officials claimed a witness reported seeing an armed man run into a house, reports 10News.
Willie Houston, who lives in the home, said his family was making dinner when they realized they were surrounded by deputies with their guns drawn. “So I go outside to the door and they tell me to stick my hand through the bar and come on out and follow the voice and the light, and as soon as I get out they handcuff me,” Houston said.
Houston’s son-in-law got home around the same time and was also handcuffed. The entire family was ordered out of the house at gunpoint.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, there’s food on the stove, my grand baby is upstairs, Cherie is upstairs, and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose; all the smoke started coming out of the house,” said Houston’s wife, Christine.

Two women and a seven-year-old girl were trapped on the second floor and barely made it out alive

The fire started in the kitchen, and two women and a seven-year-old girl were trapped on the second floor, according to authorities.
One deputy used a skateboard and another used a fire ax breaking out the windows to get the residents out of their home. Deputies had everyone evacuated by the time the fire department arrived.
The Houstons’ kitchen is now a charred mess.
“I think it could be handled better than what it was, especially when we [were]informing them there was no reason for our kitchen to catch on fire; we could’ve lost everything last night,” Willie Houston said. 

Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jan Caldwell denied that a deputy ever promised the family they’d be reimbursed for their destroyed kitchen

The Sheriff’s Department apologized (for what that’s worth) and “promised” to compensate the family for the damages, according to Mrs. Houston. But not so fast, Mrs. Houston! Just because they burned your kitchen down doesn’t mean these assholes are going to pay for anything.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jan Caldwell wasted no time in denying the family’s assertion that a deputy offered to reimburse them for their destroyed kitchen, saying the offer never happened. 
It’d be awfully nice to have law enforcement officers actually accountable to the working people who pay their salaries through taxes, don’t you think? Apparently, that would be asking far too much of the hapless, incompetent San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
“This is certainly going to be part of all the investigation that’s going to go on post-incident: What happened, when it happened, reviewing all the reports that have been taken in combination with the fire department and the bomb-arson report,” said Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jan Caldwell. (Bomb-arson report? Whatever, Jan.)