Revolution

DEA critically wounds innocent man

From the NRA:

On August 25, 1992, at about 10:30 p.m., Donald Carlson returned to his home in Poway, California, opened his garage door with a remote control device, simultaneously illuminating the garage so that Drug Enforcement Administration agents conducting surveillance from nearby could see inside. Just after midnight, when Carlson was asleep, a group of DEA agents burst into his house. Thinking they were robbers, Carlson grabbed his pistol to defend himself. He also dialed 911 for help. The agents shot Carlson three times, twice after he was down and clearly disabled. Carlson spent seven weeks in intensive care, fighting for his life. No drugs were found on the premises.

It was later learned that the Federal Customs Service, the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego had relied on an informant who was known to be untrustworthy and who claimed Carlson's garage contained 2,500 kilograms of cocaine (a large amount which would have taken up most of the garage) and four armed guards. The agents conducted the raid in spite of the fact they could see the informant's information was erroneous.

In a post to the Libernet mailing list, Rich McCormack quoted the May 29, 1995, San Diego Union-Tribune giving details of the shooting:

When the raid was launched, the WET [Weapons Entry Tactical unit, similar to SWAT] team couldn't break through the heavy oak double front doors. After pounding the doors three or four times with a battering ram, they smashed a front window and tried to climb through but got tangled in a Venetian blind.

By the time they got in, Carlson had awakened from a deep sleep and armed himself, groggily thinking he was being beseiged by a band of robbers. The first agent inside saw a dark figure with a gun and started shooting. Wounded in the leg, Carlson threw down his weapon and retreated to his bedroom, where he curled himself into a fetal position on the floor.

Another agent burst through the door and fired two more shots. One entered Carlson's back, sending a bullet fragment into his lung.

Hooked to a ventilator in a hospital's intensive-care wing, Carlson hovered near death for six weeks.

Carlson has settled in a civil judgment with the U.S. Attorney's office for $2.75 million. Although the informant was found guilty of lying to the government, and faces more than ten years in prison, none of the government agents have been punished for their actions.


Sources: May 10, 1995, news release by the NRA, and May 31, 1995, posting by Rich McCormack to Libernet V106 #2 (June 1, 1995).