Investigation: Family home shot up by police

July 27, 2011 7:55:46 PM PDT
After ten months, the Miller home, shot up by Suffolk County Police, haven't received any support or compensation for their loss.

"The bullet went over her head, my head and into the wall," Vanessa Miller said.

It's been nine months since a hail of bullets pierced Vanessa Miller's home and nearly struck several of her six children as they watched TV.

"My husband screamed, 'We're getting shot at', and for everyone to get down into military position and start crawling out of the room," Vanessa said.

"I screamed, 'Everyone get down, Dad says get down', we all dropped to our knees," said Justina Miller, Vanessa's daughter, "And this bullet right after I went over here, this one went over my head and this one got shot and my mom was right here and she was leaning over and the babies were over there, sorry."

As 20 or more bullets ripped through their walls, windows, and cars, the Miller's thought they were under attack by home invaders. They had no idea that the bullets were coming from the guns of Suffolk County Police.

Outside, the cops had opened fire on a mentally-ill man with a shotgun who was standing across the street from the Miller's home. Police say when he pointed the gun at them, five officers opened fire squeezing off at least 40 shots, many of them striking the Miller home. The physical damage remains visible inside and outside their home. The emotional damage is easy to see as well.

"Me and my sister, we crawled out of here and we crawled to the basement because we didn't know what was happening," Justina Miller said.

Even after 10 months, the family is really torn up about the incident.

"It's ruined us, ruined us badly. There's so much psychological damage to us, I can't even get into this every single one of us," Justina Miller said, "I'm not the same person I was from this incident. I'm so stressed out, the anxiety level is through the roof."

Some of the family members underwent psychological evaluations and were found to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The county had agreed to pay for the cost of therapy sessions.

"The county is supposed to be responsible for paying the bill and they haven't paid it," Vanessa Miller said, "They haven't paid any of it at all and since that the therapist has put everything on hold."

Emotional repairs put on hold while repairs to the bullet holes also go undone despite the county being given a contractor's estimate of the damage, more than $44,000 to home and cars. They have daily reminders of the night they thought they might die, yet there is not a penny from the county nine months later.

"They could have all died, they didn't care at all, nothing and 'til this day, we're in July and 'til this day they've done nothing for us, nothing," Justina Miller said.

The Suffolk County Executive's Office says in a statement to the public that: "They've been engaged in good faith discussions with the family and will continue to work toward a settlement that is agreeable to both parties."

The Miller's say they are stunned by the County's insensitivity to what they've been through. They have filed a lawsuit.


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