Local News

Thursday, Apr 24 2014 05:33 PM

Officers bust open wrong door in serving search warrant

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Jessica Walker was drawing a bath for herself and her 7-month-old daughter late the evening of April 19 when her Chihuahua began barking loudly at something outside.

Walker looked out the window and saw Bakersfield police officers huddled by her front door. As she walked from the bathroom to the top of the stairs the door was smashed open and officers holding "big guns" yelled for her to get on the floor, Walker said Thursday.

The next few minutes were filled with the screaming of her five children -- the oldest of whom is 8 -- as officers searched her apartment for weapons, Walker, 27, said. Police found nothing.

They had the wrong apartment.

Officers eventually showed her a mugshot of a man and asked if she knew him. She said she did. He was her next door neighbor.

Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs confirmed that officers damaged Walker's door in executing the warrant. He said investigators had developed probable cause that a felon was in possession of an illegal firearm, and a judge signed a warrant allowing them to search his apartment.

What went wrong, Grubbs said, is that an informant gave them the wrong address in the 3800 block of Soranno Avenue, south of Ming Avenue and just west of South Real Road.

"We are doing an administrative review of the incident to determine whether there was anything that could have been done to prevent this," Grubbs said.

He could not comment on who the intended target was or where he lives. Grubbs said Walker was provided with a claim form to contact the city of Bakersfield regarding repairs or reimbursement.

Her neighbor has since moved most of his belongings out, Walker said. No one answered the door Thursday afternoon.

Walker's door is visibly damaged from the incident.

She said her kids are still shaken, and she's considering taking one of them to counseling. She wants her door fixed quickly as "this isn't a safe neighborhood," and she's hoping police learn from this mistake.

"They should have investigated more," she said.

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