Raid Of The Day: John Hirko, Jr.

Radley Balko
Feb. 04, 2013

In April 1997, a SWAT team in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania raided the home of John Hirko, Jr. after an informant claimed to have purchased drugs from him. Within minutes Hirko was dead, and his body consumed by fire.

The police started the raid by tossing a flash grenade through a window, just a few seconds after knocking. When Hirko emerged from a bedroom with a gun, Officer Joseph Riedy shot Hirko 11 times, nine times in the back. One of the SWAT cops then detonated a second flash grenade near Hirko, sparking a fire that destroyed the house and prevented police or paramedics from giving Hirko any medical attention. The fire burned Hirko's body beyond recognition.

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