GALVESTON, Texas – A spokesperson for the City of Galveston says they are expecting a lawsuit to be filed against the city and or the police department after officers executed a botched search warrant.
“During the search, officers determined the suspect was not located in the residence,” the spokesperson writes in a press release. “Later, after performing the search, the department received new information contradicting the initial basis for the arrest.”
In the early hours of Sunday, January 22, Galveston police investigators executed a search warrant at a Galveston home located in the 5300 block of Avenue O. Authorities say they were looking for Cameron Vargas, who they believed was a murder suspect.
Vargas wasn’t at the home. He was later arrested and booked when his parents brought him in the next day.
“He’s booked, and so we’re waiting. We’re just waiting because we’re going to try to bond him out,” said Vargas’s mom Terry Borrell. “[Then] we’re hearing there’s a $250,000 bond. I mean, who has that kind of money sitting around?”
Borrell says her son spent two nights in a Galveston jail cell until Wednesday afternoon after the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office received new evidence that morning corroborating everything Borrell and her son’s father told investigators. The DA’s office dropped charges against Vargas and he was released.
“It’s just been one big nightmare,” Borrell said. “It was us fighting against the system and showing our son’s innocence.”
Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli was placed on a 10-day administrative leave by the city manager “for a failure of communication regarding the January 22 search. The City’s Human Resources Director will be investigating that issue. In addition, Acting Chief Mitchell has initiated an internal investigation as to the circumstances leading up to and related to the search.”
Borrell and her family can breathe a sigh of relief. For the family of the shooting victim, his release brought anguish.
“I had hope,” said Malik Dunn’s mom, Miishia Dunn.
Miishia believed her son’s killer was in jail, but when she found out Vargas was wrongly accused, all she could do was cry.
“I pray and I talk,” Miishia said. “I know I can’t talk to my son, but I talk it out loud where he can hear me and understand me. I’m going to fight for him all the way. I’m not going to let this go.”
Police say Malik was found shot in the 3900 block of Sealy and later died at the hospital.
His mom was miles away in California for work.
Malik’s sister-in-law, Eulla Bridges, broke the news.
“She broke down,” Bridges recalls. “I’m trying to calm her down because she’s going into a panic attack because she was by herself.”
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Dunn family buried the 25-year-old. Miishia said she is now concerned about the status of her son’s murder investigation.
“I feel like my son’s case is going to be unsolved,” Miishia said. “I want Malik to have justice. It ain’t me. I want Malik to have justice. I want him to have his justice.”
Authorities continue searching for Malik’s killer.
The families involved in a botched Galveston police raid and their attorneys held a press conference Wednesday.
During the press conference, the families demanded an apology from the city of Galveston and asked the city to pay for the damages to their home and reputation.