GALVESTON, Texas (KIAH) — Galveston’s police chief is on a 10-day administrative leave as the city investigates a SWAT search that wrecked the wrong house for the wrong suspect.
Doug Balli has been the chief of Galveston police since March of 2022. He has 26 years of experience as a police officer.
The city says it’s looking at communication failures surrounding that search last Sunday, Jan. 22.
According to a press release from Galveston’s assistant police chief Andre Mitchell, police had a search warrant for a house on the 5300 block of Avenue O for the arrest of Cameron Vargas and had credible evidence that he was in the home.
But after the arrest of Vargas, GPD received new evidence and worked with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the homicide charges against Vargas.
According to the Galveston Daily News, charges were later dropped against the suspect because a witness falsely identified him.
A homeowner tells our news partners at ABC13 that officers did $5,000 in damages when they tore her house apart in search of Vargas, who had visited earlier but didn’t live there.
Mitchell is now the acting chief of GPD while Balli is on leave.