- The Washington Times - Friday, February 17, 2006

DALLAS — Three suspected drug dealers shot four SWAT team members yesterday morning as the officers attempted to serve arrest and search warrants at their home, police said.

The officers, who have more than 70 years of combined experience with the Dallas Police Department, were treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Three of the officers were treated and released. The fourth reportedly underwent surgery yesterday afternoon for a thigh wound, and a department spokesman said the injury was “painful but not life-threatening.”

Police Chief David Kunkle said his officers were wearing protective vests and helmets.

“We believe we were very, very fortunate,” he said, “because it appears all the injuries are treatable.”

The officers were serving warrants for the Drug Enforcement Administration. They arrived at the suspects’ home, which is surrounded by a 6-foot iron fence, about 6:50 a.m. in an armored personnel carrier. The officers announced their arrival through a loudspeaker. Rifle shots were fired from the home as about a half-dozen officers approached the front door.

Several neighbors told police that they had noticed around-the-clock traffic and “strange behavior” at the home.

“Ain’t nobody else got a fence,” said Aaron Shaw, who lives on the same street as the suspects. “When it went up, we wondered, ‘What is all that about?’ There was some money moving through that house.”

An officer who didn’t want to be identified said the raid was part of a multilevel drug task force roundup of suspected methamphetamine dealers in northern Texas and southern Oklahoma.

“Obviously, somebody at one of the other raid sites warned these guys,” he said.

The SWAT team fired a chemical agent into the house and arrested two men and a woman. A boy age 9 or 10 also was taken into custody.

Lt. Rick Watson said he did not know why the SWAT team announced its arrival and intentions.

“It’s very dangerous not having the element of surprise. You just don’t know what’s on the other side of the door,” he said.

Chief Kunkle said this was the fifth incident since Christmas and the third in the past two weeks in which suspects have fired shots at officers serving warrants.

He said the procedures will be reviewed and studied.

“We do it different ways depending on circumstances,” Chief Kunkle said. “The officers didn’t want any confusion that they were police officers executing a warrant early in the morning, so they announced their presence both in English and Spanish so there would be no confusion.”

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