Federal Agents Raid Elian's Home, Remove Boy
(CNSNews.com) - Armed federal agents forcibly removed six-year-old Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives Saturday morning and flew the boy to the Washington, DC area to be delivered to his father.
Agents used a battering ram to break down the door of the Little Havana home in which the boy was staying around 5:00 a.m. EDT as INS officials with assault weapons drawn entered the home and took the child from the arms of Donato Dalrymple, one of the fishermen who rescued Elian from the sea on Thanksgiving Day.
Dalrymple held the boy and backed into a closet as the agents approached with guns out.
Dalrymple told reporters, "They said, 'Give me the boy or I'll shoot you.'"
The boy was then taken out of the home by a female agent who rushed to a waiting van, which backed away from the home as a small group of Cuban-American exiles protested the federal police action. Witnesses on the scene said the child was sobbing as he was removed.
Attorney General Janet Reno said at a Saturday morning news conference that eight agents entered the home and took the boy in a three-minute operation.
Outside the home of the child's Miami relatives, other INS agents held back the crowd with pepper spray.
Photographs from the scene showed a distraught looking Elian confronted by a federal agent in combat gear preparing to take the boy who Reno later called "a child who needs to be cherished."
Dalrymple told NBC reporters, "My God, what's happened to our judicial system? What has happened in America? Please, America, don't fail this community."