In a Facebook post, Lynncrest Drive resident Spencer Renck said he jumped out of bed shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday when he heard banging noises upstairs. Fearing an intruder, he wrote he grabbed his gun and headed toward the source of the sounds.
That’s when the flash-bang grenades started exploding.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Bradley County Sheriff’s Department officers, believing Monte Brewer Jr., a man accused of murder in Johnson City and reportedly involved in an ongoing heroin investigation, was inside, knocked down Renck’s door and stormed the house with guns drawn.
Renck said the officers detonated several stun grenades in his home, including outside his son’s open door, burning carpets and clothes. They took his family members out of the house, cuffed him and held him to the ground while he protested.
Once they realized the case of mistaken identity, he said the officers left as suddenly as they entered, and proceeded to raid a neighbor’s house, presumably Brewer’s.
“They destroyed my door, door frame, carpet on my stairs blew my ceiling out and burned my living room floor and hallway,” Renck wrote on Facebook. “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.”
The Times Free Press of Chattanooga reported that Renck’s wife, Alyssa, wrote in a separate Facebook post that "they pretty much scared all of us to death and kicked Spencer to the ground and kept me away from my scared kids for NO REASON."
She said her son had to go to Children's Hospital at Erlanger to have his ears checked out because of the blasts.
A DEA spokesperson said the intrusion into Renck’s home was “tragic” and said the agency is taking the incident very seriously and working with the family to ensure members’ wellbeing.
The agency “intends to look into this matter further and take steps to ensure situations such as this never occur again,” he wrote.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident at the request of 10th District Attorney General Stephen Crump.
TBI spokesperson Josh DeVine said preliminary investigation indicates the officers entered the wrong home while executing a search warrant. The investigation is active and ongoing at this time.
The Chattanooga newspaper said a news release from the Bradley County Sheriff's Office did not mention the error.
Once officers found the correct address, Brewer was taken into custody by the officers. He and three others were indicted by a Washington County grand jury in connection with the killing of a pregnant woman who was parked in her car off John Exum Parkway.
Police believe one of the four men, not Brewer, may have been the father of the woman’s unborn child.