SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Attorneys for the family of Ismael Lopez, the Southaven man shot and killed by police over the weekend, are calling for the resignation of several city authorities including the police chief.
“Recent facts have been discovered that make this story all the more disturbing and outrageous,” the family’s attorneys said.
Attorneys for the family said they were able to view Lopez’s body at the coroner’s office and discovered he had been shot once in the back of the head.
That plus “consistent misstatements” from local authorities led them to call for the resignation of the Southaven police chief, any elected official who made a false statement regarding the death and anyone else connected to the case.
They said it’s likely they will be filing a civil rights lawsuit against the city.
He said the officer who fired the gun should face a manslaughter charge.
He also implored the Department of Justice to get involved due to “bad acting by Southaven Police.”
According to investigators, officers were in the 5800 block of Surrey Lane that evening searching for Samuel Pearman, the man accused of choking a woman in front of her 4-year-old daughter at a Citgo gas station in Tate County.
When they arrived officers ended up at Lopez’s home.
What happened next is still under investigation.
WREG spoke to the Lopez’s wife who said they were the only ones home at the time. She doesn’t speak English, but she said through an interpreter that her husband went to the door after hearing the dog barking and looking outside the window seeing police cars.
“They started pounding on the door and as far as she knows when he opened the door, they started shooting. She didn’t see it, but she is just repeating as much as she knows,” said Rami Desantiago, a family friend.
Investigators told a different story, saying the suspect had a gun and they told him to drop if before opening fire. A gun was recovered at the house. Lopez’s wife said her husband didn’t have a gun in his hands.
Bullet holes left in the house and even bullets hitting Lopez’s dog indicate several shots were fired.
The officer who fired the shots has been placed on non-enforcement status but has not been suspended, Southaven police said Tuesday.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case.
Pearman later turned himself in to authorities and was released on bond.
The news conference comes just hours after Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite released a statement saying the city “considers all facts and complete information before forming judgments and taking action.”
The Lopez family released a statement after the conference:
“Our family would like to thank the community for the support and love shown to us through this nightmare. We are saddened and shocked by the loss of our beloved Ismael. He was a loving husband, guiding father, mentor to the youth and hard worker. There is no reasonable explanation about why or how this happened to our Ismael but we believe his memory demands answers, accountability and justice. We will not rest until we know the truth. Thank you agaiin for all the thoughts and prayers for our family during this most difficult time.
“Queremos la verdad! Queremos justicia!”
Attorneys say Lopez moved here with his wife Claudia 20 years ago. They have one son who is 21. Lopez was an auto mechanic and mentor to kids.
Lopez’s funeral is Saturday and then his body will be taken to Mexico. Family is asking for privacy, and his lawyer says funeral won’t be public.