RENTON, Washington - It’s been almost two months since a SWAT team’s mortars, grenades and tear gas canisters peppered Melinda De La Torre’s Renton home of 15 years, as officers looked for a suspect who wasn’t there.
The home is still boarded up, the damage isn’t fixed and she said she wants to know why she has to pay for it.
“They wiped my whole life from underneath me and now I’m trying to pick it up and move on,” she told KIRO 7 on Thursday.
The team descended on De La Torre’s home on April 25 in a search for her son. Police said a woman had accused him of stealing from her and told police he was armed.
Police said they believed De La Torre’s son was hiding in her home, but she said he hadn’t lived there for months and wasn’t there that night.
For more than four hours, SWAT team members fired grenades through walls and windows and blasted in the doors with explosives.
De La Torre came home from work while police were still there.
“(An officer) just kinda shook his head and said, ‘I am so sorry, ma’am. It’s your house and it’s…ruined; we destroyed it,’” she said. “Police officers and detectives that were there told me to file a claim with the city of Renton.”
She did, but while her claim was being investigated, she heard from the city’s claims adjuster.
“He really doesn’t think that they are liable, that they had just cause to do what they did to my home,” De La Torre said. “They, I feel, used my house as a training facility.”
KIRO 7 reached out to the city for answers, but we have not yet heard back.
De La Torre, meanwhile, said that her son hasn’t yet been arrested for the alleged armed robbery that brought the SWAT team to her home in the first place.