Southaven, MS — In a case that has witness accounts contradicting those of the authorities, a Mississippi man with no warrant out for his arrest was shot and killed over the weekend after officers went to the wrong address.
Forty-one-year-old Ismael Lopez, who was asleep in bed with his wife when cops arrived at his door to serve a warrant, was a former mechanic who had lived in his Southaven home for 13 years.
“Someone didn’t take the time to analyze the address,” Wells told local media. “This is incredibly tragic and embarrassing to this police department that they can’t read house numbers.”
At a press conference, district attorney John Champion stressed that Lopez had “absolutely no warrant for his arrest” and that he “wasn’t wanted for anything at all.”
The two officers involved in the shooting claim Lopez opened his front door only a crack the night they approached the residence and that the man pointed a gun at them through the crack. They further claim Lopez refused to drop the firearm after repeated commands and that this is when they fired three shots through the door, killing him. Officers also shot Lopez’s dog during the incident.
However, Wells hired an investigative team and says its findings, along with witness statements, greatly contradict the police’s version of events.
“You can track the trace of the bullets,” Wells told reporters Wednesday. “Three bullets went into that door and the door was shut when those bullets went into the door. My investigative team has concluded it was a direct line. There were three bullets. There is no way the door was cracked open and someone was there.”
Additionally, Lopez’s wife, who stayed in bed as her husband went to the front door when they were awakened by their barking dogs, says she never heard police shout any commands for Lopez to drop a weapon. This falls in line with an account from a next-door neighbor, who also says he heard no such warnings from police.
Further, Wells claims that while cops did recover a gun from the victim’s home following the shooting, Lopez was not armed when he approached the door.
The girlfriend of the man police were seeking that night, Samuel Pearman — who has since been arrested — told local media she considered Lopez a friend and said he was someone who always looked out for her:
“He has always protected me, always. And now he is dead because it sounds like police shot him. That was [a] good man.”
Highlighting the seemingly random nature of the tragedy, Wells says “this could have happened to anyone,” as nothing in Lopez’s past or present necessitated a visit from police that night:
“The only time the police had ever been there was when they had been robbed. No criminal history whatsoever. A long-standing employee of the city of Bartlett, mechanic. Loved in the neighborhood.”
As to the reports from police that seem to contradict the evidence and witness statements, Wells implied to reporters that “officers had reasons not to tell the truth in their account of what happened”because “they could face consequences for shooting Lopez,” according to WMC Action News 5.
Wells, who has yet to file a lawsuit on behalf of the family but still may, according to news outlet WREG, says Lopez’s wife didn’t approach him seeking a monetary award. He says she wants only justice for the people to know that her husband was a decent man.
Written by: James Holbrooks