Local News

Dad's angry after deputies pull guns on daughter

Posted August 7, 2008
Updated October 12, 2011

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Deputies trying to serve an arrest warrant were following procedure when they entered a home where a 13-year-old girl had been sleeping and pointed their guns at her, Wake County's Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Thursday.

The girl's father, Mitch Mohrmann, said his daughter was home alone Wednesday morning when she woke up to the sound of deputies in their home on Azalea Drive in Raleigh.

"She said she heard yelling in the living room of my house," Mohrmann said. "She opened her door to see what was going on, and at that point, there was a sheriff's deputy pointing a gun at her, telling her to put her hands up."

Harrison said the officers were trying to serve a warrant for the arrest of Thomas Paul Koenigs, 44, for failing to appear in court on charges of assault on a government official and resisting a public officer.

The address listed on the warrant was Mohrmann's. Koenigs had rented the house until March 2000 when Mohrmann bought the home, he said.

Wednesday was not the first time officers had been to the home looking for Koenigs. They attempted to serve warrants at the same address in 2001 and 2005. Each time, Mohrmann said, he told them they had the wrong house.

The sheriff's office serves more than 11,000 warrants a year for law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

Part of the problem, authorities say, is that when someone is arrested they must rely on the person's word when they can't verify their address with a driver's license. Often, suspects knowingly give false addresses. That is apparently what happened in Koenigs case, authorities said.

Because of the volume of warrants they serve, the fact that people do give false addresses and that a lot of these people are transient, makes it very hard to keep track of them, Harrison said. 

"It's not the first time something like this has happened," Harrison said. "We're continuously trying to (address the problem). When people move, they just use their old addresses, and that throws us off their trail a little longer."

Harrison said he is open to any ideas that might improve the system and that he has talked to his staff about the problem. So far, they haven't come up with a workable solution.

Mohrmann said he does not mind that deputies went inside his house. The issue he has is that they pointed their guns at his daughter.

"It's terrifying to me," he said.

When the first deputy arrived at the home, he saw movement inside the house. When there was no response at the front door, he called for backup, Harrison said. When the second deputy arrived, they moved to the back of the house, which is standard procedure.

"The door was ajar, so that told them either somebody had gone out of the house or somebody was still in the house and would not come to the door," Harrison said.

“We don't know what we're confronting when we come in," he added. "Was there a break-in in progress when we rode up on it? I'm sure they had their weapons out."

But he said that as soon as the deputies saw the girl, they put away their weapons, explained why they were there and talked to her mother over the phone.

Harrison said he understands Mohrmann's anger and planned to talk with him about it, but he said officers never know the type of situation they are going into and they did what they are trained to do.

"How about if we had not checked that house? Somebody had broken in and attacked his daughter, and he didn't find out about it until he came home," he said.

"Now, I'm not trying to make excuses, but that's what we have to look at all the time. We have to make those decisions."

198 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • irishale Aug 8, 2008

    "If you think they "acted illegally" then you need to discuss that with the magistrate/judge that AUTHORIZED the warrant in the first place."

    Well.. let's see: he told them in 2001 he lived there... and he didn't. He told them in 2005 he lived there, and he didn't. What, in blue blazes, made them think that in 2008 when he said he lived there that he did this time? what is it, third time's the charm?

    Look, I know it's a hard job... but you know, we as a society should only tolerate so much invasion of privacy in the name of safety.

  • dlentz2 Aug 8, 2008

    This dad can be mad all he wants but it could have been someone else come in that unlocked door while his 13 year old daughter was a sleep. He should be asking her why she had the door unlocked and why she was so sound asleep she couldn't hear them knock on the door.

  • iamforjustice Aug 8, 2008

    Does anyone remember whenthe ATL cops busted into the old ladies house and she shot them and it was the wrong house.

  • ifcdirector Aug 8, 2008

    I was very pleased with Harrison but he lied to me in my Mother's front yard before taking office which bothers me a lot. I have real problems concerning his continuing the gun registration program of Sheriff Baker, limiting gun purchases, and his blatantly unconstitutional use of roadblocks for these so called sobriety checkpoints which are nothing but impositions on your Fourth Amendment rights and as studies have shown a very poor use of resources. He has done some great things in the county and is no doubt a whole lot more effective than Baker ever was but I will probably not be voting for a candidate for sheriff next time based on what I am seeing coming out of his office these days and that's too bad. As for the deputies we were not there in their shoes but address glitch or not such situations are potentially very dangerous and merit a second look at procedures most definitely.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Aug 8, 2008

    Same thing happened to me in Atl. I came home one day to find my front door had these huge dents in it. There had to be at least 15- 20 of them and they all had groves in them. I thought?? What the heck?? I then realized- this is from a but* of a mag light.. seems the officer instead of knocking with his hand, bang on my door with his flash light.. ?

    Come to find out the sheriffs were looking for someone on 322 Washington Ave- I lived on 322 Washington Circle.. the sheriffs refused to pay for the damaged door and I had the pleasure of paying for a new when I sold the house.

    Happens all the time. Typical of LEO. All this authority, very little liability. I've heard many instances of LEO damaging the wrong parties property. Do you think they take responsibility? Nope! Rarely ever.

  • rednek Aug 8, 2008

    If they have been to this same address previously AND been TOLD they had the wrong address, Why go to the same WRONG address AGAIN? The way I see it is more wasted time, manpower and resources paid for by us taxpayers. Maybe the Wake County employment application should be revised.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Aug 8, 2008

    I assume you blame the mailman who delivers a letter to the address shown on the letter but the person is actually elsewhere??-FE

    The Post Office doesn't attempt to deliver the mail to the wrong address after they have been informed that the address has been invalid for at least the past 8 years. Furthermore, there are far less drastic consequences for the mail man showing up at the worng house. When the police demonstrate such incompetence, people can get seriously hurt. In many cases property is damaged. I am not sure that you this is a aparallel comparison. I think most of the time officers do a fine job. It isn't neccessary to defend this blunder. It was avoidable.

  • Go Georgia Tech Aug 8, 2008

    Same thing happened to me in Atl. I came home one day to find my front door had these huge dents in it. There had to be at least 15- 20 of them and they all had groves in them. I thought?? What the heck?? I then realized- this is from a but* of a mag light.. seems the officer instead of knocking with his hand, bang on my door with his flash light.. ?

    Come to find out the sheriffs were looking for someone on 322 Washington Ave- I lived on 322 Washington Circle.. the sheriffs refused to pay for the damaged door and I had the pleasure of paying for a new when I sold the house..

  • madisongunter Aug 8, 2008

    Whew, I'm glad folks are finished slinging Officers through the mud.

    MUCH LOVE TO LEO'S

  • FE Aug 8, 2008

    The LEO's executed a valid warrant.

    If you think they "acted illegally" then you need to discuss that with the magistrate/judge that AUTHORIZED the warrant in the first place.

    I assume you blame the mailman who delivers a letter to the address shown on the letter but the person is actually elsewhere??

    FE

More...