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Raid at Galveston home leads to police chief being placed on leave

Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli was placed on leave about a week after officers attempted to arrest a homicide suspect at a house on Avenue O.

GALVESTON, Texas — Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli was placed on leave after officers raided a house on Avenue O near 53rd Street while searching for a teen who had been accused of killing a man a few days prior.

The homicide

On Jan. 20, Galveston police said officers responded to 39th Street near Broadway Avenue J after getting reports of shots fired.

When officers arrived, they found Malik Dunn, 25, who had been shot multiple times. He was taken to an area hospital where he died, police said.

Days later, detectives said a 17-year-old suspect was taken into custody on a murder charge, but also said the investigation was ongoing. That suspect later had that murder charge dropped.

The raid

Authorities said they were searching for the teenage homicide suspect when they showed up at a house on Avenue O in the early-morning hours of Jan. 22. They said they had search and arrest warrants and were there to take the teen into custody in connection with Dunn's death.

According to police, investigators had "credible evidence" that the teenage suspect was at the house on Avenue O. Police said the teen wasn't found at the home during the raid but was arrested a day later.

After his arrest, the Galveston Police Department said it "received new evidence and information to vacate the homicide charge." Galveston PD said it reached out to the district attorney's office to get the charge dismissed.

Inside the house

Erika Rios said it was her house that police raided that morning. She said she and her kids were home sleeping when they were woken up around 2 a.m. by police yelling outside.

Rios said the officers yelled a couple of times for them to come out and then started shooting wooden pellets through the windows of the house.

Credit: KHOU

The officers told Rios and her children that they were searching for the teen who had been identified as the then-wanted suspect in Dunn's death.

Rios said she and her son were handcuffed.

"We had no idea what was going on," she said.

She said her home sustained damage -- from broken windows to broken doors. She said she was told that she could file a complaint with the police department or the city, but she said she didn't think she'd get far by doing that. She also said she was afraid to come forward about what happened out of fear of police retaliation.

Credit: KHOU

Chief on leave

Galveston City Manager Brian Maxwell placed Balli on a 10-day administrative leave in the wake of the raid. An internal investigation into Balli's conduct was also ordered.

"Specifically, city administration is investigating a failure of communication surrounding a search performed in the early morning hours of January 22," the department said in a release.

Assistant Police Chief Andre Mitchell served as acting chief during Balli's leave.

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