Reporting Ben Sosenko
STOCKTON (CBS13) — The San Jose Police Department stormed into a Stockton home searching for an accused killer, but they left without him, and left behind a complete mess.
“I feel like a war was taken on here, and we lost,” homeowner Joann Rice told CBS13.
Almost all of the windows are smashed in, there are holes in the wall, and there’s a layer of tear gas in the air so thick breathing it in makes you cough.
That is the home Rice came back to after the San Jose police held a fruitless 12-hour search on Saturday for Steve Ruiz, the man accused of killing a Hells Angels member at a funeral.
“He wasn’t here, he was never here and he wasn’t in the house,” she said.
Rice said her daughter was an acquaintance of Ruiz, nothing more.
“When she opened the house at 7 in the morning she asked them to come in, all they kept saying is, ‘Are you in danger? Are you in danger for your life?’ She kept saying, ‘No, my kids are in here, you can come in here if you like,’” Rice said.
Rice says police didn’t listen. They grabbed her daughter and threw her in a police car for four hours and then into a jail cell.
While police shot tear gas into the home, a mother dog and her three puppies were still inside the house.
“They told her if there was anything left in that house, it’s dead,” she said. “We were hysterical and thought the puppies were dead, the other dog was dead.”
The dogs, fortunately, are in good condition. The house isn’t.
CBS13 made several calls to the San Jose Police Department, but didn’t get a call back.
“We want it fixed,” Rice said. “Of course I’m calling my insurance, but San Jose has to pay for this, there is no reason why they shouldn’t.”
Rice said the family doesn’t know if they’ll ever be able to live in the house again.