A mother in Washington, D.C., was left traumatized after U.S. Marshals mistakenly raided her apartment while she and her two young children were asleep.
Hannah Lanes, a 32-year-old nursing assistant, said she was woken up around 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning by knocking at her front door. “My daughter went to the peep hole,” she said. "They had the finger over the peep hole, so we couldn't identify who they were.” The Marshals identified themselves and proceeded to enter the apartment using a crowbar.
“They just knocked down the door,” she said. "We didn't have on any clothes. I was completely naked. My daughter didn't have on any clothes. They started screaming, telling everybody to get out of the house.
“They dragged me and my daughter out of the house. All I could grab was a sheet and wrap it around myself. And when they pulled us out I was like, 'What's going on? My son is in there.’”
Lanes said she then pleaded with the Marshals not to hurt her young son.
“Then my little boy, my 4-year-old, came walking out and they screamed at me to call him to us and I was like, 'Please don't shoot my son,'” she told reporters.
After the family was outside, one of the Marshals realized something wasn’t right.
“The lady goes, 'Isn't this apartment 203?'" Lanes said. "And me and my daughter was like, 'No!' So then she goes, 'Oh, we have the wrong house.'” The man the authorities were looking for was just two doors down — inside his apartment the entire time.
“So we're standing on the balcony, outside with no clothes on, shaking, crying, scared,” Lanes said. "Guns have been pointed at us from the time we wake up and they have the wrong house.”
The U.S. Marshals released a statement following the incident.
“Today, while serving both a search warrant and an arrest warrant for a fugitive wanted for First and Second Degree Child Sexual Abuse, USMS task force members mistakenly breached the door of a neighboring apartment,” the statement read. "Immediately thereafter, the fugitive was apprehended in his nearby apartment. USMS personnel notified building management, who then repaired the door locks and provided the occupant with new keys prior to the USMS personnel leaving the scene.
“At this time we cannot comment on potential or pending litigation. However, any member of the public who believes that their property has been damaged as a result of a USMS operation may submit a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act.”