Police in Southaven, Miss., apparently went to the wrong address to execute an arrest warrant and ended up fatally shooting a man in his own home Sunday, an arrest warrant issued by a Tate County, Miss., judge shows.
According to WREG, Ismael Lopez was shot dead by police around 11:30 p.m. Sunday while standing in the doorway of his home on Surrey Lane.
Officers claimed that a dog in the home charged at them and that an officer shot Lopez multiple times after he refused to obey orders to drop a weapon. Lopez’s family has refuted that claim.
DeSoto County, Miss., District Attorney John Champion confirmed Monday that it was possible that officers went to the wrong address. Southaven police were sent to get a domestic violence suspect at 5878 Surrey Lane. Lopez lived just across the street at 5881 Surrey Lane.
As of Tuesday, the man police were actually looking for—one Samuel Pearman—was still not in custody.
Lopez, an auto mechanic, had no warrants out for his arrest and officers had no reason to be at his residence.
“He was not wanted for anything at all,” Champion acknowledged.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Champion gave a brief rundown of what happened prior to the shooting, saying that a pit bull apparently burst out of the home, prompting one of the officers to fire shots.
They claim that a man pointed a gun at officers through the open door. After officers reportedly warned him to put down the weapon, one of them opened fire. Champion said that it is believed that one officer shot at the dog and the other shot at the man.
The incident was not recorded because Southaven police do not have body cameras, the news site notes.
However, a Lopez family friend, 23-year-old Jordan Castillo, said that the account Lopez’s wife gave of what happened contradicted the official report. According to Castillo, Lopez did have two guns: a Glock pistol that he kept in the bedroom and a .22-caliber rifle, which was kept in the front room.
Lopez’s wife told Castillo that after the shooting, the rifle was where it was usually kept. Castillo added that he couldn’t imagine that Lopez would have come out with a gun aimed at police.
“It doesn’t make sense at all,” he said. “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.”
The officer who fired the fatal shots has been placed on nonenforcement status but has not been suspended, according to WREG.