Mississippi cops killed a totally innocent person while serving a warrant on the wrong house, but the DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion is already lobbying public opinion in favor of the police officers who made a fatal mistake.
He’s saying that officers shot at a dog and killed Ismael Lopez.
Lopez and his wife Claudia Linares were sleeping peacefully at home when the officers arrived.
Ismael Lopez went to answer the door and shortly thereafter fell to the bullets fired by an officer from the Southaven Police Department at the age of 41, right at the front door of his mobile home.
Police bullets pierced his front door.
The Lopez family retained lawyer Murray Wells who firmly says that the police shot an unarmed man, and that the cops have a strong incentive to lie in order to avoid prosecution.
The statement that the officers went to the wrong address echoed a similar comment the day before from a local prosecutor, John Champion, who said the officers may very well have been at the wrong house. Champion said Monday that two officers were at the scene and that a pit bull dog burst out of the house, prompting one of the officers to shoot at it.
Then a man pointed a gun at officers through an open door, Champion said. The officers repeatedly warned him to put the gun down before one of them opened fire. The attorney representing the family said Lopez, a gun owner, did not have a gun in his hand when he was shot, and that the law firm would do its own investigation to learn what happened.
Now that DA Champion is finished defending the officers, it will be his government job to prosecute the cops once the family’s criminal complaint is initiated.
Southaven officers had the right address on their warrants and both houses had visible address markers, when they made their raid in the exurban area just south of Memphis, Tennesee.
Instead, they killed an unarmed man.
The Lopez family’s lawyer Murray Wells was unequivocal in condemning the cops incompetence, and putting key facts on the record in an interview with WMAC:
“Someone didn’t take the time to analyze the address. This is incredibly tragic and embarrassing to this police department that they can’t read house numbers.”
He also said that Claudia, who was the only one on the property who could not be held responsible for shooting Lopez, did not hear any commands or instructions being given. In addition, Wells said Lopez never pointed a gun at the officers. “There was a gun on the premises, but the man did not have the gun with him when police shot him,” he said.
“They’ve been in that home for 13 years. The only time the police had ever been there was when they had been robbed,” Wells said. “No criminal history whatsoever. A long-standing employee of the city of Bartlett, mechanic. Loved in the neighborhood.”
Ismael Lopez can’t be brought back, and his widow Claudia Linares is going to face an uphill climb seeking justice since the initial remarks portend a fight with the Desoto County District Attorney as he plays criminal defense lawyer for the Mississippi cops who shot and killed her spouse.
It’s unknown if there are meaningful police recordings of the encounter yet, and the officers’ identities remain secret.