An officer-involved shooting in Southaven late Sunday night has left one person dead in an incident that is being investigated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) and the District Attorney's Office.
Southaven Police Lt. Mark E. Little said the incident occurred about 11:50 p.m. Sunday night in the 5800 block of Surrey Lane in Southaven.
District Attorney John Champion, in a press conference Monday afternoon, said officers were looking for an individual in connection with an unrelated case when they arrived at a residence and were immediately met with a charging pit pull.
Champion said the initial response from the officers was in regards to a domestic complaint from outside Southaven.
“The reason they were in the neighborhood was because of an aggravated domestic violence that was being investigated by another agency,” Champion said. “They were asked to go over and see if they could locate the suspect in that aggravated domestic violence.”
An officer fired his weapon killing the animal, according to Champion's understanding of events.
Then officers noticed they were staring at the barrel of a gun pointed at them.
Officers requested the individual put down the gun several times, the person did not comply and an officer discharged his weapon "more than once," striking and killing the person behind the door.
“We’re still very new into this investigation,” Champion said. “My understanding is the gun was actually pointed at one of the officers and that officer actually fired.”
The district attorney said the MBI spent overnight Monday morning processing the crime scene.
“I’m going to let them do their job first and then I’m going to sit down with the appropriate MBI officials and we’re going to look at all of the facts and make a determination of where we go next,” Champion pointed out. “It can take quite a while for that to occur.”
It was added the victim was not wanted by authorities and it was possible the officers went to the wrong location.
“He was not wanted for anything at all,” said Champion about the victim. “There were no warrants out for his arrest and at this point it is very possible the officers were at the wrong address.”
The officers’ work status is in the hands of Southaven Police Chief Steve Pirtle and an autopsy on the victim’s body was scheduled to be done today.
The names of the two officers involved in the incident have not been released.
The man was identified Monday afternoon by DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders as Ismael Lopez Rodriquez. No age or address has been provided.
Champion said the case will be looked at fairly with all of the facts being taken into consideration.
“I have to take a close look at everything that goes on and be neutral about it to make sure to the families of the victims that the investigations are being done properly,” Champion said. “But I’m not here to put officers in jail when they certainly acted appropriately. That’s why we have to look closely at every one of these cases.”
Staff writer Bob Bakken contributed to this story.