Gunmen wound girl, 8, in botched home invasion
Child was attending birthday party in Chamblee
By KATHY JEFCOATS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, January 19, 2009
An 8-year-old girl was caught in the crossfire of gunshots exchanged by four men who burst into the Chamblee home where she was attending a birthday party, police said.
Chamblee police Chief Marc Johnson said Andrea Martinez Reneaud suffered a graze wound to her chest. The bullet then traveled through her arm without hitting bone, he said. She is expected to recover.
Johnson said the girl was at a house on Ortega Way for a birthday party held Sunday for a 7-year-old friend.
About a half-dozen adults and their children were still socializing inside the house about 12:30 a.m. Monday when four armed men burst through the unlocked front door, demanding money, Johnson said.
Johnson said the house was randomly targeted probably because it was the only one on the street with lights still on. None of the occupants of the house were armed, he said.
“The suspects identified themselves as police officers but had no identifying patches or badges,” he said. “They demanded money and were threatening the people inside.”
The suspects split up inside the house, with one firing shots at an adult male as he chased him to the back. The suspect missed the man but when his accomplices heard the shots, they returned fire, thinking the occupants were defending themselves, Johnson said.
The exchange of bullets, one of which hit Reneaud, must have scared the suspects, who left empty-handed.
“There is no such thing as a good home invasion but this one was worse than normal,” he said. “Everything blew up on them and they fled the house before they could get anything from anyone.”
Johnson said police are working “good leads” in the case. He was stunned at the burst of violence in the DeKalb County community of less than 10,000.
“This is the first case we’ve had like this,” he said. “We all want to think we’re safe in our own homes.”