Mississippi police officers shot a mechanic to death Sunday after the cops served an arrest warrant at the wrong residence, according to multiple media reports.
Southaven police officers initially planned to arrest Samuel Pearman, who was wanted for assault -- but instead of knocking on Pearman's door, cops went to the house across the street from him, UPI reported.
At that house, cops shot and killed Ismael Lopez, 41, after Lopez's pet dog, a pit bull, allegedly tried to attack the officers. The officers also said Lopez had a gun in his hand at the time. Lopez's wife disputes both of the cops' claims.
“One of the officers did fire a shot at the pit bull dog,” DeSoto County Prosecutor John Champion said. “While this was going on, they also noticed at the time that a gun was pointed outside the residence. 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.”
Champion said there is a possibility the officers went to the wrong address but confirmed that Lopez was not the suspect the arrest warrant was intended for before the gunfire began.
“Somebody didn’t take the time to analyze the address,” Murray Wells, an attorney who was hired by Lopez’s family, told UPI. “This is incredibly tragic and embarrassing to this police department that they can’t read house numbers.”
Lopez’s wife, whose name was not released, said the police’s version of what occurred before the shooting is not correct. She told Jordan Castillo, a family friend, that Lopez never had his gun in his hands and police started shooting despite the family's door being closed.
"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," Castillo said.
Lopez, an auto mechanic, had been a resident of the neighborhood for 13 years, according to Wells.
“The only time the police had ever been there was when they had been robbed,” Wells said.
The officer who shot and killed Lopez has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation occurs.