Police Fatally Shoot Miss. Man at Wrong Home While Serving Warrant, Says Family
Police in Mississippi fatally shot a man while trying to serve an arrest warrant at the wrong address, according to a lawyer for the victim’s family.
Ismael Lopez, 41, was slain by police who were there to arrest his neighbor, Samuel Pearman, on domestic abuse charges on Sunday, NBC News reported.
DeSoto County prosecutor John Champion, however, said that an officer fired several shots after a pit bull ran out, the Clarion-Ledger reported. Lopez, according to Champion, was also holding a gun.
Champion said it was “possible” police went to the wrong home, confirming Lopez’s name wasn’t on the warrant, WREG reported. “He was not wanted for anything at all,” Champion said of Lopez. “I want to make that abundantly clear.”
Murray Wells, the Lopez family’s attorney, told NBC that Lopez lived just feet away from Pearman. The addresses of both homes were both clearly displayed, he said.
“They go to execute the warrant and go to the absolutely wrong address,” Wells said. “The address is very clearly marked. Even more ironic, the man who is the suspect, has a giant ‘P’ on the side of his house.”
According to WREG, police said that they were forced to shoot Lopez when he opened his door and his pit bull emerged.
“One of the officers did fire a shot at the pit bull dog. While this was going on, they also noticed at the time that a gun was pointed outside the residence,” Champion said. “At this point, the officers began hollering ‘put the gun down, put the gun down,’ at which point that did not occur and there were more than one shot was fired toward the door and there was a male subject inside the residence that was killed.”
But Lopez’s wife disputes that claim, saying that police fired shots through a closed door, and Lopez never picked up his firearm.
“She said when he got up, she heard the footsteps all the way up to the door, she heard the doorknob turn, and then after the doorknob turned it was just gunshots from there,” Jordan Castillo, speaking on behalf of the Lopez family, told the Commercial Appeal.
Wells shared a photo of a door with numerous bullet holes.
“You can track the trace of the bullets. Three bullets went into that door and the door was shut when those bullets went into the door,” Wells told CBS News. “My investigative team has concluded it was direct line. … There is no way the door was cracked open and someone was there.”